Doping and sports - 1996


Doping in the GDR

The German weekly Stern revealed that in the 1980s several East German male weightlifters had to have their breasts removed surgically. Among others Peter Wenzel (1952-) (photo), third at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and Roland Schmidt (1962-) saw their breasts enormously increase in size due to the overuse of Oral-Turinabol. Professor Gerhard Marx conducted the operations discretely in the Berlin cancer clinic 'Rudolf Rössei'. Afterwards Marx confirmed that it was not a cosmetic procedure, but a medically necessary operation, because enlargement and feminisation of male breasts are a pre-cancerous stage.

American Football

Because of cocaine possession, Michael Irvin (1966-), a player at the Dallas Cowboys, was arrested at his birthday party in a hotel. The judge sentenced him to a community service, a ten thousand dollar fine and four years of probation. The NFL for its part suspended him for the first five matches of the 1996 season. One year later he ended his sporting career when he was arrested again for possession of narcotics. When he was stopped after a speeding offense in November 2005, an unpaid fine appeared to be open, but the police also found a drug pipe in his car with a bag of marijuana. In July 2007 Irvin was accused of assaulting a woman.


William Bedford (1963-) was a promising baskettball player in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs. Due to drug problems, however, he fell short of expectations. In 1996 and 1997, he ended up behind bars twice because of drug possession, in 2001 he was arrested with twelve kilos of marijuana in his possession and afterwards he got in trouble twice more, so in 2003 he was sentenced to ten years.


Six days after he participated in the San Jose Pro Invitational, German bodybuilder Andreas Münzer (1965-1996) died of internal bleedings and multiple organ failure. Afterwards, the German magazine 'Der Spiegel' published the list of steroids, hGH and insulin he used every day and those doses would normally melt the livers of dozens of bodybuilders.

Car racing

French racing pilot Sébastien Enjolras (1976-1997) was caught using cannabis and suspended for six months. One year later he crashed during the test drives of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


English cricketer Ed Giddins (1971-) was suspended for eighteen months after he had been caught using cocaine.


French riders Rudy Lefebvre (1970-) and Alexandre Dubois (1971-) were caught at a border control in Pas-de-Calais because they tried to smuggle a quantity of amphetamines into France. They were sentenced to two months in prison and confessed to smuggling doping for the fifth time.

Together with his Belgian teammate Edwig Van Hooydonck (1966-), Frenchman Gilles Delion (1966-) (photo) was one of the few riders who complained the EPO use of his colleagues. For TV channel France 2, he explained that you can easily recognize EPO users because every evening they take aspirin to dilute their blood again. With small devices they can check their own hematocrit values. During great races, one could offen see cyclists walking up and down the hotel hall at night to activate their blood circulation. Others used twenty minutes of headstand to lower their blood viscosity by 3.1%. During sleep most of them kept their pulse meter on and programmed it so that an alarm went off if the pulse dropped below a certain risky value.

During the Vuelta, the Spanish ONCE team was the victim of a mysterious gastroenteritis. All riders were infected, except Swiss Alex Zülle (1968-). The leader in the general classification apparently had not eaten any rice pudding, which according to the team management was the cause of the inconvenience. Most journalists found it a bizarre explanation and compared the incident with the PDM affair from 1991. In the same hotel there were other teams who had eaten the same menu and there was not one who suffered. In addition, in case of gastroenteritis one regularly needs to run to the toilets and that was not the case.

Jörg Paffrath (1967-) was caught doping after the German championship and was suspended for six months. When two years later he admitted in an interview to 'Der Spiegel' that he had once again been taking forbidden substances, the German Cycling Federation suspended him for life. In 2003, however, that sentence was revoked.

American rider Levi Leipheimer (1973-) used a forbidden product with which he doubled the entire field during the American amateurs' championship.

Frenchman Jérôme Chiotti (1972-) became world champion mountain bike, but four years later he confessed the use of EPO, anabolics, growth hormones, corticoids and Pot Belge, on which he had to hand in his title. It was no coincidence that he rode for Festina during that period.

After the derny criterium of the RAI, Dutch rider Michel Cornelisse (1965-) tested positive for methamphetamine, which meant ten months of suspension.


During the home match of his team from Lille against Nantes, David Garcion (1973-) was the first French football pro to test positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone. He was suspended for eighteen months, half of which was conditional.

Roger Stanislaus (1968-), an English footballer of Polish descent, was suspended for a full year by the British Football Association after his positive cocaine test. His team Leyton Orient immediately broke his contract, after his suspension he signed for Peterborough United.

Ice skating

Russian Svetlana Fedotkina (1967-), in 1994 silver medalist at the 1,500m at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, was suspended for two years for the use of stanozolol. Her suspension was extended after she refused a new doping test at the end of her suspension.


In January 1996 the International Tennis Federation announced that Swede Mats Wilander (1964-) and Czech Karel Novacek (1965-) were caught on the use of cocaine at Roland Garros the year before. Both protested sharply against the accusations and even went to court with the argument that the tests were completely unreliable. However, it didn't help, they were suspended for three months.

Track and Field

Romanian marathon runner Elena Murgoci (1960-1999) got a life-long suspension because she was caught using anabolic steroids for the second time in a short period of time. In August 1999 she was died when her jealous boyfriend stabbed her eleven times with a knife in Bucharest.

Spanish speedwalker Daniel Plaza (1966-) tested positive for nandrolone after the national championship 20km. As an excuse he said that he had had sex with a pregnant woman and that he received the hormone during the sexual act. Yet he got two years of suspension because they did not believe him. After a ten-year legal battle, however, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled in his favor, because the judges thought that this transfer could have been technically possible.

Austrian race walker Martin Toporek (1961-) was not allowed to participate in competitions for three months, after methylephedrine, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine had been found during a check.

Romanian Iulia Olteanu-Negura (1967) won the European Championships in Charleroi. But results from a doping test two weeks before learned that she had been on Stanozolol, so she had to hand in the gold medal and she got a four-year suspension. Afterwards, that penalty was halved.

Romanian athlete Elena Fidatov (1960-) was caught in South Africa using a banned diuretic, but escaped punishment because the jury accepted her explanation that she had to take the medicine for kidney disease. Two years later, after the Spanish Zornotza field race, she got in trouble again and received a two-year suspension for the use of nandrolone.


In 1996, the International Weightlifters Federation removed all world records from its tables by changing the weight classes. It turned out that doping was involved in each of those world records.