Doping and sports - 1987


In the late 1980s, the use of anabolic steroids in the United States was also mentioned in University baseball, basketball, athletics and wrestling.

At the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, for the first time probenecid was discovered in the urine of many athletes. Probenicide is a gout medication used by athletes to mask steroids. In 1988 it was added to the IOC list of banned substances.

During an FBI raid in October 1987 in Santa Clara, California, two trucks with anabolics were confiscated, together with a manufacturing lab, two depots and a complete customer datbase. Five perpetrators were also arrested; sports physician John Perzik, strength trainer Steven Coons together with his wife Caroline, trainer Jeffrey Feliciano and assistant Charles Lewis Silcox. The loot represented 1.6 million dollars and the labels stated 'East German Drugs' and 'Made in East Germany'

American Football

Lawrence Taylor (1959-) played as a linebacker with the New York Giants in the National Football League. He had a controversial lifestyle and he confessed he used cocaine and drank excessively from his second year in the NFL competition. In 1988 he was suspended for thirty days after being caught a second time, after which he stopped his sports career. After his sporting career, it went from bad to worse and ended up in prison three times. He locked himself in with other users in his house and closed the windows with sheets. Every day he spent thousands of dollars on drugs. In 2011 he was found guilty of sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl.


Because EPO thickened the blood a lot of young riders died after they had used the stuff.

During a check-up Danish cyclist Kim Andersen (1958-) tested positive again and was suspended for life. In appeal, the suspension was reduced to one year. In 1992, however, he was caught again and his team fired him.

After the twelfth stage of the Tour de France, Italian rider Silvio Contini (1958-) was caught using testosterone. As only sanction, he was referred to the last place of the ride.

Isabelle Nicoloso (1961-) was one of the best track sprinters for twenty years. In that event she was nine times French champion but she also took titles in pursuit and points race. In 1985 she became world champion in the Italian Bassano del Grappa, but the following year she was caught using stimulants, for which she received six months suspension plus a fine of one thousand French francs. She married the nurse Jean-Yves Verger (1956-), who was sentenced to three years in 2003 in the so-called 'Béon-Affaire' for trading in the 'Pot Belge'.


American bodybuilder Dan Duchaine (1952-2000), nicknamed 'the steroid guru', defended in various TV shows the use of performance-enhancing substances and the American sports journalist Shaun Assael (1962-) called him 'a founding father of the steroid movement'. In 1977 as a student he started  with bodybuilding, because he found himself a 'miserable bodybuilder', he started with anabolic steroids that were prescribed by his physician. Afterwards he also traded them, first he bought them in Mexico but later he founded the Laboratories Milano company in Mexican Tijuana, which became the largest illegal steroid factory of that moment. In mid-1987, Duchaine was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison with an additional trial period of five years. However, after ten months he was released. In 1988 he distributed Clenbuterol to bodybuilders again but also introduced 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP). In 1991 he met a friend who sold gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and he started working with him. One of their customers, however, was an undercover FDA agent and Duchaine was sentenced a second time, again for three years. After he was released early in 1992 he wrote the colum 'Ask the Guru' in the magazine 'Muscle Media 2000' and he published several books in the Underground Steroid Handbook series, in which he labeled himself as Human Performance Theorist. In January 2000 his girlfriend Shelley found him dead in his apartment. As cause of death, complications due to polycystic kidneys were reported.


Harald Schumacher (1954-), the goalkeeper of 1. FC Köln and the German national team, published his autobiography 'Anpfiff', in which he spoke openly about doping.

"Every afternoon we took lots of tablets: iron, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin E, a couple of hormones. Apart from the tablets it was raining with syringes, Professor Heinz Liesen injected more than three thousand of them. They contained everything that's possible: plant extracts for strengthening the immune system, high doses of vitamin C and B12, extract of bee honey to support the heart and circulatory system, extract of calf blood (Actovegin) for the effects at high altitude and tablets vitamin E. ... I refused to swallow those damn sleeping pills, there were some amateur players who fell down on the field, they called it heart failure, but there was more, I thought, that can not be true! What is happening here? That was my motivation to write this book."

Reason enough for the German Football Federation to never call him again for 'Die Mannschaft' and 1. FC Köln broke his contract.

Former international and  former federal trainer Berti Vogts (1946-) called Schumacher a nest polluter and claimed that he never saw anyone using doping.

But another former international Paul Breitner (1951-) blew the whistle on Vogts right away:

"Berti can not be serious, in the course of his long career, he must have come in contact with doping, it is a subject in the Bundesliga, with everyone. Or the pros do it themselves, or they notice it with fellow players or opponents."

Former international Pierre Littbarski (1960) also confessed the use of Captagon in 'France Football'.

"Suddenly all the warning lights went on, I felt like a mad cyclist, I knew I could die from it."

In the magazine 'Sport 80' Brazilian Zico (1953-), playing at Udinese, explained how Italian footballers escaped positive doping controls by exchanging urine. He himself had handed in the urine of his son during such a check. But he also mentioned that it went the same way in the Brazilian competition.

"If someone did not want to or could not urinate, another player did it for him, it even happened that the opponents were asked for help."


Kerry Lynch (1957-), an American skier in the Norwegian Combination, became known in 1987 for his doping scandal during the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, where he and his coach Jim Page (1941-) applied an illegal blood transfusion. In the 15km Lynch finished second behind Noor Torbjørn Løkken (1963-), but he had to surrender the silver medal when he confessed the scandal. He received a lifelong suspension, which was reduced to two years in appeal. Surprisingly, he was later appointed Managing Director of Sports Performance, a subsection of the American Olympic Committee.

Track and Field

American javelin thrower Tom Petranoff (1958-) confessed the use of anabolics:

"I owe my world record to anabolics, without them I never had thrown more than 67m. I tried a few months not to take them, but my performance dropped dramatically, and then I started again and I won sixty events in a row."

On April 8, 1987, West German heptathlete Birgit Dressel (1960-1987) felt pain in her left hip and buttock during training. Her sports physician, an orthopedic surgeon, injected her the narcotic Xylon and the antiinflammatory Voltaren. The next afternoon, the pain was more severe, and the doctor administered her two higher doses of Voltaren and Baralgin, a painkiller based on dipyrone. If the pain persisted she had to swallow the blood platelet inhibitor Godamed and the sedative Tranquase-5 (diazepam) and to put up the analgesic suppositories Optipyrin (paracetamol with codeine). As the pain worsened, she swallowed fifteen tablets of Godamed and consulted two other doctors who prescribed her an ice bath with aspirin and heparin. In the morning of April 10 she was admitted in he emergency ward of the University Hospital in Mainz. Because people were thinking of kidney colic, two other doctors gave her intravenous Buscopan. That afternoon she moved to the emergency room where four other doctors suspected a spinal cord injury. When Dressel complained of great thirst and her lips and nails turned blue, three other doctors appeared on the scene. Two neurologists were called when her heart rhythm and breathing wre accelerating. Seven doctors watched as Birgit Dressel moved her arms and opened her eyes for the last time. She was given an oxygen mask and was taken to intensive care, where at last a correct diagnosis was made: a toxic reaction. To get her acidotic metabolism in order, she immediately received four blood transfusions, high doses of endogenous hormones and bicarbonate. It did not help, Birgit Dressel died on intensive care three hours after her admission. In determining the cause of death it was found that Armin Klumper (1935-), Professor of Sports Medicine in Freiburg, had injected her about 400 times with 15 different medications in a 16 months period, including injectins with animal cell preparations, which led to constant immune reactions of the body. Dressel also took twenty different drugs prescribed by three different doctors and swallowed the maximum dose of six tablets of Stromba, an anabolicum, weekly. After all this, Klumper emigrated to South Africa.

Norwegian shot putter Lars Arvid Nilsen (1965-) was suspended for two years in 1987 because the use of Probenecid and anabolic steroids had been found during a check. After a second infringement in 1992, he received a life-long suspension.

During a training camp in the United States, the Norwegian shot putters Trond Ulleberg (1962-), Arne Pedersen (1961-), Jan Sagedal (1960-), Kåre Sagedal (1960-2012) and Lars Arvid Nilsen (1965-) were caught using Probenecide in a control outside competition. Anabolic steroids were also found in Nilsen. The five were suspended.

German shot putter Ralf Reichenbach (1950-1998) confessed to the use of anabolics, but also reported that without these products he would not be able to compete at all. At the age of 48 he died of heart failure, according to insiders, his doping use was the cause.

Swiss Sandra Gasser (1962) finished third in the 1,500m final at the World Championships in Rome, because afterwards she was caught on the use of testosterone, she had to turn in the bronze and to stay on the sidelines for two years.