Doping and sports - 1978



Bernie Carbo (1947-) was one of the most addicted baseball players in the American league. In 1978, the owner of the Red Sox Boston hired a private detective to catch him for drug use. In an  interview in April 2010 with the newspaper Boston Globe, Carbo admitted his marijuana and amphetamine use.

"For every game I smoked two joints and drank three or four beers. Then I went to the stadium, I swallowed amphetamines and painkillers, I drank a cup of coffee, I chewed some tobacco, I smoked a cigarette, got up and started the game. And that every game again. Every game I played I was high, I was addicted to everything that you can become addicted to. I played outfield and sometimes it seemed like the stars were flying out of the sky. "

At the age of 33 he stopped playing baseball and became a hairdresser.


In June 1978 American boxer Bob Hazelton (1946-2014) defeated his great idol and compatriot Bob Foster (1938-2015), the former world champion light-heavyweights. Hazelton had done everything to get this far. Through the use of anabolics he gained 30 pounds of body weight, but he also had enormous health problems, in so far the doctors had to amputate both his legs.

"My coach asked me to take pills to gain weight, he told me they were strong vitamins, I didn't know I was taking steroids, I was very young and trusted him, and of course I dreamed of a successful career. Now I think I better would have been better a mediocre boxer, but one who could walk on his own feet."


After winning the Amateurs World Championships, Swiss rider Gilbert Claus (1955-) tested positive for steroids.

After his victory at l'Alpe Duez in the 1978 Tour de France, Belgian Michel Pollentier (1951-) was caught with a rubber pear under the armpits, which contained the someone else's urine. He was kicked out of the Tour and ironically his own urine tested negative.

In the same Tour de France, Spanish Jose Nazabal (1951-) expected a positive result and after his test he immediately left the race.

French rider Antoine Gutierrez (1953-) behaved so suspiciously during the check that control doctor Le Calvez became very curious. The doctor pulled up the rider's shirt and found a tube system attached to a bottle of urine.

Belgian rider Jean-Luc Van den Broucke (1955-) confessed:

"During the Tour de France, I used steroids, which are not stimulating but reinforcing agents, and if I had not taken them I would have had to give up. What do you think? From February you cycle all year round, you have to perform well in the classics but also in the smaller races and then again in the Tour de France. During the rest day before the Pyrenees I received a first hormones injection and again just before the last week. Medically you can not call that harmful, especially not if it is done in moderation and under the supervision of a doctor. "


In a doping check at the World Cup of 1978 after the final between Argentina and the Netherlands, one of the Argentine players was found to be pregnant. His name was not released.

Scottish football player Willie Johnston (1946-) was caught using Reactivan after the opening game of the 1978 World Cup against Peru. He was thrown out of the team, which after 21 games with the Scottish team also meant the end of his international career. He always maintained his innocence.

Track and Field

Six GDR athletes were ready to go to the track and field meeting in Zurich, when the message appeared that strict checks would take place during that meeting. Given that the six were full of anabolics in preparation for the European Championships a few months later, East German sports physicians decided to keep them at home. Infectious gastroenteritis was the excuse.

At the 1978 European Championships in Prague, Russian Nadeschda Tkatschenko (1948) won the gold medal in the pentathlon. When the doping control later indicated that she had taken prohibited products, she had to hand in her title. Moreover, she had to stay on the sidelines for life, but that punishment was later reduced so that she could become Olympic champion in Moscow in 1980.

In May 1978 German discus thrower Hein-Direck Neu (1944-2017) tested positive for anabolics during the German athletics championships. Apparently, the run-off period was incorrectly calculated. In 1991, he revealed that sports physician Manfred Steinbach (1933-) had regularly prescribed anabolics and that they had 'laughed' about the indication of the 'Weight loss after flu' prescription. He was suspended for eighteen months. During an interview years later he went deeper into this matter:

"... Practically all pitchers who wanted to get higher on a sporting level took anabolics during that period. Some did not tolerate them, I had no problems with them myself ... If you saw how the throwers from the GDR, but especially the Americans, openly took the stuff, then there was no other possibility for us .... Together with my trainer Karlheinz Steinmetz (1942-) I drove very frequently to Professor Armin Klümper (1935-) of the Uniklinik in Freiburg, who provided us with plenty of syringes and tablets, and I was already surprised at the time that the hospital reimbursed everything."