Doping and sports - 1973


In a letter to the US Congress, a mother of two boys expressed her concern that 11 to 14 years old players from a local Pop Warner Football League were offered drugs, pop-ups and speed by their coach.

Although the NCAA banned the use of anabolic steroids in 1973, its detection program was only started in 1986.


Dutch team leader Kees Pellenaars (1913-1988) told about one of his riders:

"I took him on training camp to Spain, the boy turned into a kind of lion, he was driving around like he was powered by rockets, and when I spoke to him about it he was genuinely glad he was riding so well and he advised me to keep an eye on him.When I asked him if he had taken something, he jumped up, climbed on a chair and pulled out of the cupboard a plastic bag full of pills, my heart skipped, I never had seen so much fireworks. Together with the soigneur I counted five thousand pills, hormone preparations and sleeping pills not included.To great relief from my rider I took them with me, I left him only the hormones and the sleeping pills. Later it turned out that he had taken too many sleeping pills because he slept for days on end, we could not wake him up and took him to the hospital where he received a gastric lavage.To prevent something going wrong, he was tied to his bed, but he somehow managed to get stimulants and wanted to walk out of the hospital. A nurse crossed him in the corridor, his bed was still tied to his back."

Belgian rider Eddy Merckx (1945-) tested positive after the Italian classic Giro di Lombardia. He was disqualified and runner-up Felice Gimondi (1942-) was declared the winner.

French rider Jean Claude Blocher (1949-) confessed that he had used reinforcing drugs during the 1973 Tour de France.

"During that three-week Tour of 1973, I took deltamin, lidepran and meratran, nothing particularly serious, at which time I was not yet very well informed, I was a beginner at all levels. I noticed the riders all had vials in their pants, but I did not know what was in them. Every rider doped, I only realized afterwards that they were amphetamines and I started with them too. In the 'after-Tour criteria' all riders used them, without exception. And it must be said that amphetamines were a powerful product, you perform 30% above your possibilities, you are tired but you still want to cycle further. "

Italian rider Ottavio Crepaldi (1945-) was removed from the results of the Giro di Lombardia because he did not show up for the doping test.


For the first time in the history of the Brazilian league, a footballer was caught doping, Cosme Da Silva (1952-) of Belo Horizonte was suspended for two months.

Six months after Ajax Amsterdam won for the third time the European National Champions Cup, defender Barry Hulshoff (1946-) revealed that physiotherapist Salo Muller (1936-) had given him and probably all players a pill and a capsule.

"You felt very strong and you could keep going without getting tired, but I lost all my saliva and had to vomit for half an hour, I was completely dehydrated."


At the first World Cup swimming in Belgrade, East German women took home ten of the fourteen gold medals.

The East German swimmer George Sievers (1957-1973) fell into a coma during a training and died. His parents did not get access to the autopsy report, but after the fall of the Wall, the archives of the East German Swimming Federation showed that he died of cardiac arrest as a result of excessive use of steroids.

The American swimmers found no conclusive explanations for the enormously steep performance improvements that the GDR girls succeeded in barely a year. Janos Satori (1932-2015), the Hungarian success trainer of the West German swimming team, assumed that these enormous performance improvements were not achieved with ordinary means and methods. He suspected the GDR of the use of anabolics, an opinion that international sports doctors shared with him.

Track and Field

In 1973 GDR shot putter Joachim Krug (1955-) defected to the West and in November of that year he testified in an interview with the German newspaper 'Bild-Zeitung':

"In top sport we have practically all lived on anabolics, me too ... Not only the shot puters were fed with muscle preparations, but the swimmers also started at the age of 12, as did footballers, rowers, cyclists and weightlifters. the sprinters from athletics were made stronger and faster with pills ... And then I got the first packet of Oral-Turinabol and I had to sign an agreement that I would not talk to anyone about it. "

In a four-week cycle, Krug swallowed a calculated amount, the first three days two tablets, then five to seven a day. He therefore experienced an unusual feeling of strength. But he learned even more:

"With the help of anabolics, performance peaks can be predicted almost to the hour."