Doping and sports - 1983


The American pharmaceutical company Amgen started the industrial production of EPO.

At the beginning of 1983, Canadian athletes were excluded from any state aid for at least a year if they tested positive for doping, including subsidies, travel, assistance from national coaches or access to national sports centers. Athletes who were caught using anabolic steroids were automatically given a lifelong suspension, just like those who delivered a second positive test.

Thirteen members of the American athletics team were banned from the Pan American Games after a positive doping test. One of them was pole vault-jumper Mike Tully (1956-), although the American Athletics Congress admitted that he had used Sudafed for a stuffy nose and anti-histamines were not added to the list of banned products until 1991. In total, 23 medals were reclaimed during the Pan American Games, eleven of which were gold.

American Football

In an American report, an ex-dealer described the use of steroids on the Nebraska football team as 'massive' and estimated the number of users around 85%. Additional evidence of this unbridled consumption came from a number of journalistic studies involving players Dean Steinkuhler (1961), Dave Rimington (1960), Danny Noonan (1965), Neil Smith (1966) and Lawrence Pete (1966), something they also later admitted.


American baseball player Darryl Strawberry (1962-) confessed that he first experimented with cocaine in 1983, drank regularly and smoked cannabis. That combination caused serious problems. He was convicted of marital violence and tax evasion. In 1987 he drank almost every night and used more and more cocaine. In 1990 he signed up for rehab, but he got worse and he ended up in a vicious circle. The alcohol and drugs led to erratic behavior, and that led to more drugs after being criticized. Eventually, the baseball association suspended him three times for the use of cocaine.


The urine of Chilean cyclist Fernando Vera (1953-) showed traces of anabolic steroids. Vera participated in the Pan American Games on the track, but did not make it to the podium. An unidentified Cuban volleyball player also tested positive, but his team was allowed to stay in the tournament. According to a Cuban official, the player had used eye drops containing the forbidden ephedrine.

Dutchman Adri van der Poel (1959-), world champion cyclocross and stage winner in Tour de France, tested positive for strychnine. As a defense, he noted that his father-in-law had served pigeon during lunch and that after that positive test he realized that it was actually the pigeon that had been doped. His father-in-law was none other than famous French cyclist Raymond Poulidor (1936-). After the Tour of Sicily, van der Poel was caught a second time, this time with ephedrine. He was suspended for three months.

During a control in the Tour de France traces of nadrolone were found in the urine of the French rider Jacques Bossis (1952-).


After a positive test for anabolic steroids, the board of the Pan Am Games in Caracas deprived American weightlifter Jeff Michels (1961-) of his three gold medals.

Also Cuban Daniel Núñez (1958-), Chilean Jacques Oliger (1959-) and Canadian Guy Greavette (1960-) tested positive for anabolics during those Games and they also had to return their gold. The first time in the 32-year history of championships of the western hemisphere that athletes had to hand in their medals because of doping.

"This is the saddest information I have ever had to give," said Organization Chairman Carlos Vasquez Rana (1935) at a press conference. "Something regrettable has happened and we need to avoid this in the future."

As a result, the eleven weightlifters who had been caught were suspended for two years and were unable to take part in the 1984 Olympic Games. The other disqualified were Cuban Alberto Blanco (1976-), Canadian Michael Viau, Jose Adarmes Paez from Venezuela, Enrique Montiel from Nicaragua, Argentinian Guillermo Lopez, Jose Lozada from Puerto Rico and Colombian Caballero Dolcey.