Doping and sports - 1974


At the Commonwealth Games, anabolic steroids were tested for the first time. Nine of the 55 samples were positive, because there were no regulations yet, no suspensions were imposed.

In May, the IOC decided that anabolic steroids would be tested at the 1976 Games. However, scientists were alarmed by the report that it did not make much sense to test on the match days, the German sports scientist Manfred Donike (1933-1995) suggested to do additional tests from 1975 onwards.

French sports physician Jean-Pierre de Mondenard (1943-) accompanied the French judo team from 1975 to 1979 and from 1975 to 1978 the Tour de France for motorcycles. As a physician, he also followed the cycling classics Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours, Paris-Brussels and Tour de l'Avenir. From 1973 to 1992 he taught Sports Medicine at the Faculté de Médecine de Toulouse and from 1979 to 1987 he held sports medicine consultations specifically for children. Afterwards he moved to Paris, where he worked as a sports doctor at the Université de Paris and l'Hôpital Dieu. From 2003 he taught the course 'Dopage et toxicomanie: lutte et prévention' at l'Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière. Besides a lot of scientific research, he also published impressive works on doping, in which he drew from his years of experience with athletes and he did not shy away from naming names:

  • Document dopage (1979).
  • Le dossier noir du dopage (1981).
  • Drogues et dopages (1987).
  • Dictionnaire desoldering and processes dopants and pratique sportive (1991).
  • Dopage aux Jeux olympiques, la triche récompensée (1996).
  • Dopage. L'imposture des performances (2000).
  • Dictionnaire du dopage (2004).
  • La grande imposture (2009).
  • 36 histoires du Tour de France (2010).
  • Dopage dance le football. La loi du silence (2010).
  • Tour de France: 33 vainquereurs face au dopage (2011).
  • Tour de France - Histoires extraordinaires des géants de la route (2012)
  • Les dopés du foot: un siecle de potions magiques (2012).

American Football

During his stay at the University of South Carolina, American football player Steve Courson (1955-2005) was prescribed Dianabol by one of the team physicians.

"I got banged around by older, stronger kids. I knew at the time I had to do a lot of work. I knew I had to go on drugs. I wasn't going to be out there just to be out there. I had to be the best. I only did steroids the summer before my sophomore year. My body weight went from 225 to 260 in a month and a half. I didn't need them after that. "

Afterwards he played six seasons for the Steelers and after two more seasons at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he stopped playing sports. In 1991 'False Glory: The Steve Courson Story' was published, the book about his life and his anabolic use in American football. He was not only the first player who admitted the use of steroids, but he also strongly criticized it. In more than a hundred lectures he warned athletes from high school and university about the dangers of steroids. He had a heart condition, which was probably caused by steroid use. After his sporting career, Courson was blacklisted by the NFL because of his strong position on steroids. His wife Cathy committed suicide. In November 2005 he died at home cutting a tree. After his death, an unsent letter was found on his computer, in which he regretted that other players did not publicly admit their anabolic use and that the enormous popularity of the league was based on the 'myth' of drug-free players.


American Tom Sansone (1935-1974) was the first bodybuilder to die due to excessive use of anabolic steroids. After complaining about internal pain an exploratory surgery was performed in which one kidney was removed, part of his lungs had to be cut away and during which heart complications emerged. He died a short time later at the age of 39.


When Finland glided in the biathlon sport in the 1970s and Lasse Viren (1949-) won gold twice at the 1972 Olympics, Italian Professor Francesco Conconi (1935-) started an experiment that would earn him the nickname 'Monsieur Sang' (Mister blood) years later . The teacher of the Italian sports physicians and doping suspects Michele Ferrari (1953-) and Luigi Cecchini (1944-) was the inventor of the exercise test named after him and was therefore regarded as a kind of wonder doctor who attracted many famous athletes. But behind the scenes, this Biochemistry Professor experimented with blood doping, which he had copied from the Finns, and introduced the use of EPO in sport. Among his clients were Francesco Moser (1951-), who cycled a new world hour record in 1984, the Tour de France winners Laurent Fignon (1960-2010), Stephen Roche (1959-), Miguel Indurain (1964-) and Marco Pantani (1970-2004) ), as well as the Italian riders Maurizio Fondriest (1965-), Mario Cipollini (1967-) and Claudio Chiapucci (1967-). In total he treated more than 400 athletes, the names of which can hardly be found because Coconi gave them code names.

In a test out of competition, thirteen prominent cyclists were caught, including the Belgian Herman Van Springel (1943-).

After Paris-Nice, French cyclist Roger Legeay (1949-) tested positive for amphetamines.

French cyclist Claude Tollet (1949-) tested positive for amphetamines in the 1974 Tour de France.

Belgian rider Joseph Bruyère (1948-) had to leave the Tour of Belgium after traces of ritalin had been found in his urine. The substance had been banned since 1966, but a new test only brought to light its use and from then on a lot of other riders were caught.

Belgian rider Walter Godefroot (1943-) was disqualified after the Fleche Wallone because he refused a doping test. He had already done that in 1967 and then he was removed from the Paris-Tours result.


The first official doping case during a football World Cup fell upon Haitian Ernest Jean Joseph (1948-), who was caught during a World Cup game in Germany after the match of his team against Italy. He was immediately suspended for a year.

Ice hockey

Stig Wetzell (1945-), a professional ice hockey player from the Finnish highest league, was caught on doping during the 1974 Ice Hockey World Championship in his own country. His urine sample contained large amounts of Ephedrine and as both the A and B samples were positive, the Finnish 5-2 victory against Czechoslovakia was reversed to a 0-5 loss.

After the 4-1 victory against Poland in the opening game at the World Ice Hockey Championships, it turned out that Ulf 'Little Pröjsarn' Nilsson (1950-) had used a nasal spray with the forbidden ephedrine. As a punishment for this, the Swedish win was converted into 0-5 loss.


German sports physician Adolf Metzner (1910-1978), who himself was a promising athlete in his youth and won several German titles and who participated in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics, noted in October 1974 in the German magazine 'Die Zeit' about the GDR swimmers:

"Those who have seen these female swimmers should be shocked when they see the muscles on their shoulders and arms, which you expect more from people working for a moving company, but not from girls and young women. Not even an intensive use of dumbbells is able to to grow these 'male' back and shoulder muscles in women."

An article in 'Der Spiegel' concluded the same:

"The consequences are devastating, especially in women: convex muscles where you can comfortably miss them under the arm and at the back, a concave emptiness where the eternally feminine breast is normally convex at chest height." Worse, the voice becomes heavier, the hair growth on legs and chest increases - characteristics of the robot crew of GDR swimmers."

Track and Field

Commonwealth Games gold medallist discus thrower Robin Tait (1940-1984) from New Zealand confessed to taking steroids.

Weight lifting

Commonwealth Games gold medal winning weightlifter Graham May (1952-2006) confessed to using steroids (which had not been on the banned list at the time because there was no reliable test for them), but his offer to return his 1974 gold medal was declined.