Doping and sports - 500BC-1BC

480 BC

After eating a goatmeat diet, the Greek athlete Dromeus of Stymphalos won the 4.8km long Dolichos match at Olympia twice, twice the one of Delphi, three times in Isthmia and five times in Nemea. After his won marathon at the 480 BC BC Olympics, Greek long jumpers also started eating goat meat in order to jump farther. During that time, the daily diet consisted mainly of bread, vegetables, cheese and some figs. This primitive form of doping was imitated and soon each sport branch had its own favorite meat type: bullfight for shot putters and pork for boxers.

450 BC

To increase testosterone production, wrestlers from Crete used Tribulus Terrestris, a Mediterranean plant. The plant was known as an aphrodisiac.

400 BC

More information about doping from that period is difficult to find because the priests kept their knowledge on that subject well hidden. This was not just about enhancing performance, but through sport, athletes could reach a social status that was probably higher than that of current athletes. There was a massive interest in the matches and the winners received phenomenal prizes. Greek writings of Plato (427-347 BC) show that a win in the Olympic games yielded half a million of today's dollars, complemented by other rewards such as food, real estate, tax exemptions and even deferral of military service. This professionalism inevitably resulted in corruption. Bribery and fraud were commonplace, the athletes were prepared to do just about anything to improve their chances and swallowed every preparation that could possibly increase their performance.

Roman period

No matter how fun they may be, strictly speaking the cartoon characters Asterix and Obelix are typical examples of doping use. Every time he had to fight the Romans, Asterix swallowed a potion made by Panoramix to obtain superpowers. His companion did not get it because as a baby he had fallen in the kettle with the magic potion.

During Rome's chariot racing participants mixes drugs in horse feed so the horses could run faster. Hydromel, an alcoholic beverage based on honey, was also used frequently.

To overcome their fatigue and injuries, the gladiators in the Roman Colosseum also used unspecified stimulants, so that the fighting in front of the 60,000 spectators would be more powerful and bloody. One of the favorite cocktails was a mix of alcohol with stimulants, preferably strychnine.