Doping and sports - 1981


Doping in the GDR

Because of the many complications caused by the anabolic injections, Catherine Menschner (1967-) had to stop swimming when she was fourteen. It left her with permanent damage to her spine and reproductive organs. At the age of six she won her first race and that is why she was admitted to the East German sports academy, where she had to swallow all kinds of brightly colored sweets. At the age of 11 she managed a hundred push-ups without any problems. After her career she could barely manage to lift 250 grams, she suffered from back pain, was short of breath and regularly got infections from her excessively large lungs. She also attributed the seven miscarriages she received to the products she received during her childhood. After her sportive career, she worked as a journalist in Berlin.

Christiane Knacke (1962-) stopped swimming in 1981, after she won the bronze at the Moscow Olympics in the 100m butterfly stroke, after her compatriots Andrea Pollack (1961-) and Caren Metschuck (1963-). In 2017 she looked back on this period during an interview.

"I no longer saw any perspective in swimming and in the GDR. I wanted more of life. I wanted a family. I wanted to be able to move. When I was eighteen, I had already been operated on the musculoskeletal system three or four times. "

In 1977 during the country meeting against the United States, she was the first woman to swim the 100m butterfly stroke under 1 minute, with a chrono of 59.78. Half a year before that new world record, she had received Oral-Turinabol for the first time and the results were already noticeable at that time. Later, syringes followed to make the training lighter, according to the trainers.

"The day consisted of swimming, eating and studying. 14 hours at a time until you came home. Our body could no longer cope with the rapid muscle growth. When we questioned our supervisors about this, we crashed against a wall of silence. We felt severe muscle pain every time we got the stuff. Such arms, such legs, such balloons. Too fast muscle growth. After three weeks of treatment you could already see enormous changes in your body. You could almost see your muscles grow. But you continued training, twenty kilometers every day. "

"When I think back to the swimmers from the United States or other countries, I do not think we were the only people who were doped. The Americans were not at all elegant, they were also such animals. "

"We received the Oral-Turinabol without packaging, the doctors and coaches watched closely whether we took them. Today I know that I was a guinea pig. Without us knowing it and without our parents knowing it, we were testing medicines that caused serious damage. They made us addicted .... If you were badly trained or rebellious, you got less as a punishment ... We got heavy voices and we had to shave our legs constantly, crazy how hairy they were. "

In 1978, the year after her fabulous world record, she would normally have become world champion in West Berlin. But that did not happen. At an internal check just before the start of the World Cup, it appeared that her body had not metabolised the Oral-Turinabol quickly enough and she was sent back home with Petra Thümer (1961-). The lab technicians had clearly miscalculated themselves. The following year she won Olympic bronze in Moscow and said that she did that clean.

She married and divorced from the FDL official Driesener and married in Vienna with the Austrian trade union delegate Sommer. Professionally, she became an accountant for the Theater der Jugend in Vienna.


Paraguayan football players Cesar Diaz, Mariano Pesca, Ortiz Aquino and Aldo Florenti of vice-champion Club Cerro Porteno were sentenced to three to five years in prison after being caught doping.

Belgian sports physician Andre Noret (1933-2004) told in 1981 about his first doping experiences from the 1950s in football:

"As a student, I sat on the board of a large Belgian football club, which organized an important international tournament with major European youth teams, each team was assigned an attendant, I was with the Italians who had brought a doctor." Revolutionary for those days, not one other team had medical support for its juniors, even the English, the Germans, the French or the Dutch ... After the medical examination, the Italian doctor distributed large amounts of medication at sunrise, at bedtime and for every meal. In addition, he gave some players intravenous or intramuscular injections fifteen minutes before each game.... He told me that the medications distributed in the hotel were vitamins, tonics and preventive agents for liver damage, but he didn't say anything about the contents of the syringes... Becoming suspicious I did not lose sight of Dr. X and one evening I saw him disposing of empty ampoules, which he had carefully hidden in a bag, in the street adjacent to the stadium. A few hours later I went looking for the empty ampoules, which told me the secret why the young players never tired. They were amphetamines, which he had given to young guys aged 17 to 19 years. "

Three years after Argentina won the World Cup 3-1 in the capital Buenos Aeres in the home city, team physician Rubén Oliva (1923-2013) revealed in the French newspaper 'Le Figaro' that this was done with the help of performance-enhancing drugs.

Track and Field

Finnish athlete Kaarlo Maaninka (1943-) won silver in the 10.000m and bronze in the 5.000m during the Olympic Games in 1980 in Moscow. The following year he confessed that it was thanks to blood doping, which was not yet forbidden.

German hammer thrower Uwe Beyer (1945-1993) confessed in a monthly magazine that he had injected anabolics for years, enabling him to win the bronze medal at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. When he died of a heart attack in 1993, it was linked to his excessive use.

On 7 July 1981 the American Ben Plucknett (1954-2002) improved the world record discus throw with a 72m34 throw. The following week, however, the International Association of Athletes removed his name from the tables after he tested positive for anabolics.