Doping in de sport - 1984-O.S.

1984 Olympics

Because of the boycott there were no GDR athletes present in Los Angeles.

The human growth hormone was described by a well-known sports physician as the 'rage anabolic drug' of the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

For the Games, the organizers of Los Angeles refused to provide the IOC with a safe doping test. Because of this lack of security, medical records were stolen. In a letter from 1994, the Belgian Alexandre de Merode (1934-2002), chairman of the Medical Commission of the IOC, claimed that Tony Daly (1933-2008), a member of the organizing committee, had even destroyed samples. Canadian Dick Pound (1942-), member of the anti-doping committee, even accused IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920-2010) and IAAF president Primo Nebiolo (1923-1999) of delaying the announcement of positive tests, so that the Games could continue without controversy.


American cyclists John Beckman (1958-), Brent Emery (1957-), Steve Hegg (1953-), Pat McDonough (1961-), Leonard Nitz (1956-), Rebecca Twigg (1963-) and Mark Whitehead (1961-2011) later admitted that they had received blood doping from Herman Falsetti (1935-), cardiologist at the University of Iowa, in preparation for the 1984 Games . That practice was not yet against the rules, it was only advised against. American coach Eddie Borysewicz (1939-) (photo) set up a whole hospital in the motel for the procedure, which earned him nine medals. The first American medals in cycling since 1912. Steve Hegg won gold and silver, Rebecca Twigg, Pat McDonough and Leonard Nitz silver. In January 1985 the American federation banned blood doping.

Modern pentathlon

Checks on the Games indicated that most participants in the modern pentathlon had swallowed beta blockers because of their anti-tremor and anti-anxiety effects. Even those medicines were not yet on the list of prohibited drugs.


During the relay races, Mongolian cross-country skier Pürevjavyn Batsükh (1955-) tested positive for anabolic steroids, on which his team was disqualified.

Finnish cross-country skier Aki Karvonen (1957-), won a silver and two bronze medals, admitted in 1994 that he'd had blood transfusions for the Sarajevo Games, although blood transfusions weren't formally banned

Track and Field

Just before the Games, the American newspaper 'Tampa Bay Tribune' claimed that the year earlier, discus throwers, javelin throwers and hammers were informed by a coordinator of the educational program of the American Olympic Committee how to circumvent the tests for anabolic steroids.

After the Rotterdam Marathon in 1984, Finnish runner Martti Vainio (1952-) delivered a positive pee on anabolic steroids. That test was officially not recognized because it was carried out by the Finnish Athletics Federation and no sanctions followed. Later the Finn confessed that he received a second injection a few weeks later. The time was well chosen because its traces could not be detected when testing at the Los Angeles Games. At least that's what he thought, but the test after the 10,000m final in which he came second showed the use of Metenolone. He had to turn in his medal and was refused to participate the 5,000m.

Alberto Cova (1958-), Italian winner of the 10,000m, admitted later that he had undergone blood doping.

Italian Giampaolo Urlando (1945-) finished fourth in hammer throw. Afterwards he was disqualified for the use of testosterone.

In 1984, four-time Olympia participant Jay Silvester (1937-), silver in discus throwing at the 1972 Games, interviewed many participants of the Olympiad in Los Angeles. To the consternation of the American, doping use ranged from 10 to 100 mg per day.

Greek javelin thrower Anna Verouli (1956-) was banned of competition when it turned out that she had tested positive for nandrolone.

Vésteinn Hafsteinsson (1960-), a discus thrower from Iceland, tested positive for nandrolone and was sent home. Afterwards he participated in the three subsequent Games and after his sporting career he became coach of, among others, Olympic and world champion Gerd Kanter (1979-) from Estonia.


Two doping sinners in the Japanese volleyball team in the men. Eiji Shimomura (1959-) tested positive for testosterone, Mikiyasu Tanaka (1955-) had been on the ephedrine.


At the super heavy weights Greek weightlifter Serafim Grammatikopoulos (1960-) had been on the nandrolone and was sent home.

Austrian Stefan Laggner (1958-) and Swede Göran Pettersson (1961-) had also been caught using nandrolone.

Algerian Ahmed Tarbi (1954-) managed to get to the podium at the bantam weights, but had to hand in his medal after a positive test for nandrolone.

Mahmud Tarha (1962-) from Lebanon was also disqualified after a positive nadrolone test.


Swedish wrestler Tomas Johansson (1962) won the silver medal in the Greek-Roman style by the super heavy weights. A few days later the doping tests indicated that he had been on the anabolic steroids and he was suspended for eighteen months. He also contested the three following Olympiades with a bronze medal in Seoul and a silver medal in Barcelona