Doping and sports - 1999


The International Olympic Committee set up the independent agency World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The medical committee of the IOC defined doping as follows:

"The use of an expedient, whether substance or method, potentially harmful to health and capable of enhancing the athlete’s sports performance, or the presence in the athlete’s body of a substance, or evidence of the use of a method where such substance or method appears on the list annexed to the present Code."

Doping in the GDR

According to the Düsseldorfer Sportnachrichtenagentur, 30 top athletes deaths were recorded annually in the GDR.

In the aftermath of the lawsuits in Germany against former GDR officials, trainers and doctors, the news was spread that Dietrich Hannemann (1935-), the former director of the East German Sports Medicine Services, was convicted to a fine of 45,000 Deutsche Mark ( = 22,500 Euro) for inflicting body injuries to 191 athletes.

In June, even the first prison sentence was set. Sports physician Dietbert Freiberg (1943-) received six months of probation for inflicting physical injuries in 72 cases.

In October, Horst Röder (1933-), former DDR-decathlon champion and former vice-president of the GDR Sports and gymnastics federation, was sentenced to one year probationally. Röder, who was also Professor Theorie und Praxis des Trainings, was considered responsible for inflicting bodily injury in 141 cases.

In November Uwe Neumann, the trainer of triple Olympic champion Rica Reinisch (1965), was sentenced to a fine of 8,000 Deutsche Mark (= 4,000 Euro). Even though that condemnation was not accepted by everyone.

Breaststroke swimmer Jens Kruppa (1976-) replied to the accusation of administering prohibited substances:

"Na, und?" (So, what?)

Egon Müller (1926-), the former secretary-general of the GDR swimming-union, Wolfgang Richter (1937-) and Jürgen Tanneberger (1945-) the former trainers of the GDR swimming-team, were sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of one year and had to pay 5,000 Deutsche Mark (= 2,500 Euro) fine.

In 1989, at the European Championships in Bonn, Müller had reacted angrily to the question of the doping issue in the GDR:

"It makes us angry, we do not want to say anything more about that."


Austrian Stjepan Stazic (1978-) played basketball in Italy, but when he tested positively to the Clostebol anabolicum, the Italian federation suspended him, whereupon he moved to France.


In 1999, in American bodybuilder Kenneth Wheeler (1965-), better known as Flex Wheeler, has been discovered the kidney disease 'focal segmental glomerulosclerosis'. In the press speculations about the cause appeared.

"If you do bodybuilding at my level, bad things have to happen to you," said Wheeler, "you have to use too many high-tech tools and you only have to do something wrong once and your whole life is over."

For every competition, Wheeler consumed ten thousand dollars worth of steroids, which he received for free as a superstar. He did not notice any adverse effects, except that he became aggressive. The diuretics were utterly dangerous. Several times Wheeler ended up in the hospital with cramped muscles, crying out in pain. He was nearly dead a few times. Doctors warned him that he risked his life. In fact, Flex wanted to stop using the drugs in 1997, when it became clear that his kidneys were shrinking. In 2003 Wheeler underwent a kidney transplant, after which he became seriously ill. To relieve him of the accumulated fluids, the doctors had to operate his leg, and that was just one of the five operations he underwent.

"I could not do otherwise, without those resources I did not play at competitions. And if you do not finish high, you will not receive prize money. "


British cricket player Ed Giddins (1971) was suspended for nineteen months because of cocaine use. Moreover, he got fired at Sussex.


Commissioned by the French newspaper 'Nouvel Observateur', a study was carried out on 90% of the riders who had participated in the Tour de France between 1947 and 1998, it was a total of 2.363 riders. It appeared that, compared with the average European, the riders who participated after 1970 in the Tour for the first time had a 2.5 times higher chance of dying of cardiovascular disease before 45 years of age. Ten riders had suddenly died, two Belgians, one Spaniard, three French and four Dutch. Between the ages of 25 and 34, the mortality rate among riders was even five times higher than that of the average European.

Hans Michalsky (1949-), five times German track champion in the kilometer time trial, stated :

"In my time the intake of male hormones played an important role, but we were checked very often, but second-degree riders that rode more regional circuits, were much more vulnerable." I knew a lot of them who no longer live today and many who are now crazy, drug addicted or alcoholic, and in that period there was a much bigger doping problem."

As a result of the doping scandal 'Le Pot Belge' of July 1998 in Poitou-Charentes, 31 people were charged with suspicion of the acquisition, transport, possession, sale and use of banned substances. Among the defendants, many amateurs and ex-professionals such as Jean-Claude Genty (1945-), Eugène Letendre (1931-2014), Alain Meslet (1950-) and Pierrick Gillereau (1968-).

After the confessions of an amateur, the police of the Italian Brescia found a lot of doping products. Hereafter eighteen people were suspected, including the former cyclists Giorgio Addis and Pierino Gavazzi (1950-) (photo) but also three pharmacists. From 1996, they would have delivered growth hormones, EPO, testosterone, oxandrolone and ACTH to riders. The trial began in January 2003 and the former Italian champion Gavazzi was sentenced to six months in prison because by providing medication he had practiced illegally the profession of doctor and pharmacist. Addis was given nine months.

On the second day of De Panne's three-day trip, a scandal broke out when the police stopped the peloton shortly after the start and took the Mapei riders for questioning. The cause was a packet of amphetamines ampoules intercepted by the police and sent to Gianni Bugno (1964-) by caretaker Tiziano Morassut via DHL. In December 2002 Bugno, together with his father, his caretaker Morassut and former cyclist Edouard Vanhulst (1955-) was sentenced by the Court of Kortrijk to six months in prison and a fine of 4,957.87 Euro.

Austrian champion time trial Florian Wiesinger (1976-) was caught using pseudoephedrine, for which he was suspended for three months and had to surrender the title.

In October 1999, German newspaper 'Berliner Zeitung' reported that twenty former professionals had died prematurely, mainly due to the effects of cancer, heart failure and suicide. Among them, vice-world champion sprint Ernst Streng (1942-1993), world road champion Heinz Müller (1924-1975), German road champion Dieter Puschel (1939-1992) and German omnium champion Klemens Großimlinghaus (1941-1991). Besides the widely distributed amphetamines, the German riders also used anabolics, especially Decadurabolin, which they injected from February to May.

In April in an interview with the French magazine Paris-Match, French professional Jean-Christophe Currit (1969) explained how doping controls samples could not be recognized due to procedural errors. The shipment had to be misdirected, a badly stuck label freed itself from the test tube, a bottle disappeared due to human error. Of course this had a price, to enjoy this benefit, the catched rider had to cough up between forty and sixty thousand French francs (= 6.000 to 9.000 Euro).

The police investigation had an initial success with the seizure of doping products from Claude Deschamps and Jacques Guillandou, two suppliers of 'le pot belge'. This was followed by the arrest of Patrick Charron (1948-) (photo), a friend of the notorious Bernard Sainz (1943-), who was known in both cycling and equestrian sports as 'Dr. Mabuse'. The products were smuggled in from Poland by the brothers Michel and Bozena Korycki. One year later, the Charron District Court sentenced a fine of 150,000 French francs (22,500 euros) and three years in prison. A year was added to this in the appeal. Deschamps and Guillandou, for their part, were given 30 months, 24 of which were postponed, while the Polish brothers had five and two years of detention in absentia. An international investigation order was issued against them. 24 users had to pay a fine of between 2,500 and 8,000 French francs (375 to 1,200 Euro).

A year after the Festina scandal, the French justice opened a new doping file. Roger Legeay (1949-) (photo 1), sports director at GAN and as a rider in 1974 caught on the use of amphetamines during Paris-Nice, accused team doctor Patrick Nédelec of having doped two of his riders. Philippe Gaumont (1973-2013) and Laurent Desbiens (1969-) (photo 2) tested positive for nandrolone during a doping test. After the disciplinary investigation of the French cycling federation (FFC), the sports physician, previously responsible for the doping controls of the federation, was suspended for three years. Because Nédelec was sick of the hypocrisy, he completely retired from cycling and opened a private practice on the Paris Champs Elysées.

Philippe Gaumont (1973-2013) tested positive for nandrolone in 1996, in 1998 he was caught twice again on the same medicine. The following year amphetamines were found in his urine and in 2004 he confessed to the French police that he had repeatedly used EPO since the beginning of his professional career. He added that at least 95% of the professionnals doped and that he doubted whether anyone could win the Tour de France without doping. He retired from professional cycling, gave a lot of interviews and published the book 'Prisonnier du dopage' (Prisoner of Doping), in which he explained the doping and masking methods but also the way in which riders donated themselves. He provided details on avoiding positive controls on corticosteroids, so you had to irritate your testicles with salt to provoke a skin rash, on which you were prescribed a tube of cortisone ointment. Urine tests can not distinguish between injected and lubricated cortisone and the prescription thus masked the use of injections. In May 2013, Gaumont fell into a coma after a heart attack, a few days later he died.

During the 1999 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong (1971-) tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide. The small amounts of corticoids in his urine were explained by a skin cream, he showed the prescription to the UCI and was acquitted. However, after the question 'Used medication' he had filled in 'nothing' on the doping report and also the team management did not want to comment afterwards. Time after time again Armstrong denied EPO use, however two of his then teammates admitted that they did get EPO.

Because of the so-called 'omertà' in cycling, only the tip of the iceberg was known. The same names appeared again and again in publications and confessions of caught riders. First there was the French physician Bernard Sainz (1943-) (photo), 'Dr. Mabuse' had riders like Frank Vandenbroucke (1974-2009), Bernard Hinault (1954-), Francesco Moser (1951-) and Philippe Gaumont (1973-2013) under his wing, but until then he had never been convicted.

In Italy, three doctors were linked to doping practices. In 1998 Francesco Conconi (1945-), Michele Ferrari (1953-) and Luigi Cecchini (1944-) were the target of an Italian prosecutor. In Bologna, the 'Giardini Margherita' pharmacy played a central role in the drug traffic, and many prescriptions of anabolic steroids, hormones and other doping products were seized. The three physicians were given the nickname 'Preparatore', they coached competitive sportsmen with detailed training schedules and balanced medical support. The Danish Cycling Federation obliged Bjarne Riis (1964-) to make an end of his cooperation with the three Italians.

There would also be a link between the three Italians and the Spanish doping physicians José Luis Merino Batres (1941-) and Eufemiano Fuentes (1955-), together on the photo. Merino could later not be convicted because he had suffered from Alzheimer's disease in the meantime.

Furthermore, Italian rider Filippo Simeoni (1971-) revealed that Carlo Santuccione (1947-) (photo), starting from 1993,  regularly injected him EPO, the doctor who was appointed as doping supplier by Italian rider Riccardo Riccò (1983-). However, Santuccione, known in the cycling environment as 'Ali the Chemist', was suspended by the Italian Cycling Federation as a sports physician from 1995 to 2000. After the sudden death of an amateur, he again came negatively in the news. They guarded his practice with video cameras and tapped his phone. In June 2004 he even got a professional ban. Because Danilo di Luca (1976-) was also treated by him, the Italian rider was suspended for three months and lost all his won ProTour points. On December 17 2007 the Italian Olympic Committee declared a lifelong professional ban and all athletes were prohibited to work with him. Santuccione was also no longer allowed to appear in sports stadiums. In January 2009 he was charged again with sports doctor Simone Giustarini (1953-) and eighteen others.

After his victory in the eleventh stage of the Tour de France, the cycling team Lampré send Ludo Dierckxsens (1964-) home. At the doping check after arrival, the Belgian had informed the physician of the use of the cortisone preparation Synacthene. The product had been prescribed to him the month before for a knee injury. The Koninklijke Belgische Wielrennersbond suspended him for six months, for fear of a stricter sentence he did not appeal. To add insult to injury, the doping test turned out to be negative.

Two days before the end, pink jersey Marco Pantani (1970-2004) was removed from the Giro d'Italia, because a too high hematocrit had betrayed the use of EPO.

In August 1998 German cyclist Uwe Ampler (1964-) tested positive for steroids in the Sachsen Tour. He confessed the facts but pointed out that he had taken medication during a flu attack. The Disciplinary Board of the German cycling federation suspended him for nine months and his team fired him with immediate effect. Two years earlier he came in the news when for Danish television he accused his former employer Telekom of systematic EPO use.

Danish rider Claus Michael Møller (1968-) was suspended for two years from his national cycling federation, after finding traces of anabolic steroids in his urine. He himself denied all guilt.

Frenchman Laurent Roux (1972-) was caught using amphetamines and suspended for six months. In a doping test outside competition, amphetamines were found again in 2002. Finally, in 2006 he confesed during a doping test in Bordeaux that he was using EPO, human growth hormone, cortisone and testosterone.

During the Tour of Bavaria a huge amount of testosterone was found at Christian Henn (1964-), but the former German champion had an explanation for this. Because he and his wife wanted a second child, his mother-in-law gave him a fertility-enhancing herbal drink. In May 2007 he was one of the many Telekom riders who admitted that the whole team used EPO between 1995 and 1999.

Swiss rider Urs Graf (1974-) tested positive for testosterone after the fifth stage of the Tour de Romandie and was suspended for eight months with a fine of 2,400 Deutsche Mark.

The French newspaper 'L'Equipe' received the hematocrit values of the riders of the Italian team Gewiss-Ballan. The results were not for the faint-hearted. The value of Dane Bjarne Riis (1964-), who won the Tour de France in 1996, rose from 41.1% in January to 56.3% in March. Russian Piotr Ugrumov (1961-), in 1994 second in the Tour de France, saw his value rise from 32.8% to 60%. Italian Ivan Gotti (1969-) increased from 40.7 to 54%, Russian Vladislav Bobrik (1971-) from 42.7 to 53%, Italian Bruno Cenghialta (1962-) from 37.2 to 45%, Italian Francesco Frattini (1967-) from 46 to 54%, Italian Nicola Minali (1969-) from 41.7 to 54%, Italian Alberto Volpi (1962-) from 38.5 to 52.6% and Russian Evgueni Berzin (1970-) finally from 41.7 to 53%.


Thomas Ziemer (1969-) of the German Bundesligaclub 1. FC Nürnberg got nine months suspension after a positive test for anabolic steroids.

Thorsten Rohrbach (1976-), reserve goalkeeper with the German second division Kickers Offenbach, was caught after the game against Waldhof Mannheim on the use of Tramadol, the active ingredient of which is the opium derivative tramadol hydrochloride.

Turkish football player Hasan Sas (1976-), who stood out for his fanatical behavior, his decisive goals and his bald head, was suspended for six months because a doping test resulted in the use of phenylpropanolamine.


Russell Garcia (1970-) won the gold meal with the British hockey team at the 1998 Olympics in Seoul and was with his eighteen years the youngest Olympic champion in that competition. He played more than three hundred games for the national team and scored seventy goals. A check in 1999 showed that he used cocaine, for which he was suspended for three months.


Ten Chinese swimmers were suspended together with their coaches for doping abuse, for some of them it was already the second time.

In an out-of-competition check, Chinese swimmers Wang Wei (1979-) and Xiong Guoming (1978-) tested positive for Clenbuterol. The result of a wokdish of pork liver was their defense. Given that they had already delivered a positive pee during the 1994 Asian Games, they were now suspended for three years. In addition, four others were suspended.

On January 14, 1999 during the World Cup swim, FINA announced that Yuan Yuan (1976-) was suspended for four years because she wanted to smuggle thirteen bottles of human growth hormone into Australia. Her coach Zhou Zewen, who put the banned products in her suitcase, got fifteen years.

In addition, four Chinese swimmers were sent home when they deliverd a positive pee at the World Championships in Perth, Australia. In her report, the FINA stated that three women, Wang Luna (1980-), Cai Huijue (1980-) and Zhang Yi (1987-) had tested positive for the diuretic Triamterene.

Trent Bray (1973-) from New Zealand tested positive for the drug nandoline. He was eventually exonerated six months later by a Court of Appeal decision.

Slovenian 1500m specialist Igor Majcen (1969-) took nandrolone and got a four years suspension.

Synchronized diver Tracy Bonner (1974-) got one year suspension for her pee with amphetamine, but later it appeared that the American took this drug for narcolepsy. After she was cured of that ailment, she started working at 'Cirque du Soleil'.

Russian world champion on the 3m board Yuliya Pakhalina (1977-) was suspended for two months after a positive caffeine test.

Spanish swimmer David Meca (1974-) delivered a positive test on nandrolone after the 25km open water at the World Cup. He was suspended for two years, but afterwards that sentence was halved. In 2003 he finished second at the World Championship 10km, in 2004 and 2005 he swam across the Channel and in 2005 he crowned himself in Montreal as world champion 25km.

Track and Field

Russian shot putters Vyta Pavlych (1969-) and Irina Korschanenko (1974-) took place one and two at the World Indoor Championships, but had to hand in their medals after the doping control indicated the use of testosterone. They both were suspended for two years.

A shockwave went through the sports world, Merlene Ottey (1960-), one of the most successful female athletes of all time, had to withdraw from the World Athletics Championships in 1999. A few months earlier in Switzerland she was caught using Nandrolone.

British sprinter Linford Christie (1960-), who escaped surprise checks for years by giving only his office address to the inspectors, was caught at the beginning of 1999 in the use of nandrolone. He had not used that product, but he had eaten contaminated avocados was his excuse.

Dutch sprinter Troy Douglas (1962-) tested positive for nandrolone. The Royal Dutch Athletics Union acquited him because the facts could not be proven. The IAAF did not accept the acquittal and suspended him for two years.

Former Olympic and World Champion high jump Javier Sotomayor (1967) was caught using cocaine during the 1999 Pan American Games. This meant the Cuban could forget the Sydney Games. After several hearings, the IAAF halved his sentence, which allowed him to go to the Games anyway. In September 2001, Sotomayor announced that he quitted the high jump by which he avoided a lifelong suspension. A few days earlier in his trainig camp, nandrolone was found in his urine during an unannounced check.

In a doping test on 19 October 1999, German Dieter Baumann (1965) tested positive for nandrolone. In the process for the German Athletics Federation, the winner of the 5,000m at the Barcelona Olympics defended himself with the fact that there was norandrostenedione in his toothpaste, an old proven Stasi method. This is why this case is often called the 'toothpaste affair'. The German athletics federation released him, the IAAF, on the other hand, imposed a suspension of three years.

English shot putter Carl Myerscough (1979-) tested positive for a 'cocktail' of illegal drugs and was suspended for two years by his own union while the IOC imposed on him a lifelong participation ban on the Olympics. The arbitration court for the Sport subsequently annulled the Olympic ban. Myerscough continued to deny the doping charges and thought he was the victim of sabotage. He married the American hammer thrower Melissa Price (1979-) who was involved in the infamous BALCO file.

Russian German Skurygin (1963-2008) was crowned world champion of the 50 kilometers race walking, but was caught doping. Because of the Gonatropine found, he had to hand in the gold medal and he was suspended for two years. At the age of 45 he died of a heart attack.


During the national championship, Austrian weightlifters Manfred Kraushafer (1969-) (photo) and Dietmar Oberdanner (1971-) finished first and second in the category up to 85 kg, but after their positive test they had to hand in their medals.

Also Werner Höller (1977-), Austrian champion in the category up to 69kg, had been on forbidden drugs, he was caught using Fentermin and suspended for two years.