History of sports medicine - 1966


Composition of the first Belgian Anti-Doping Commission.


By order of the International Association of Athletics Federations IAAF, female athletes were subjected from 1966 to a gender test for major tournaments. First by means of a humiliating nude parade by a team of gynecologists, later the IOC and the IAAF applied the Barr body test. This lab test based on cells from the cheek mucus shows whether someone has two X chromosomes.

The test, however, was unreliable, as Spanish hurdler Maria Patino (1961-) passed the test during the 1983 World Cup, but was rejected by the same test two years later at the Universiade in Kobe, Japan. In 1992, the IAAF stopped the sex inspection. Anyone who officially lived as a woman was allowed to participate in the womens competitions.

But that didn't put an end to the issue. Because of her muscular physique, the South African world champion of the 800m Caster Semenya (1991-) was tested in August 2009. As a result, the IAAF announced new rules that came into effect from May 2011. An athlete with high testosterone levels first and foremost had to be female by law, or produce less testosterone than men.


American cardiologist Robert E. Mason (1917-2012) and his assistant Ivan Likar of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, improved the 12-channel ECG system for use in exercise testing.

The right arm electrode was placed at the tip of the infra-clavicular fossa media at the border of the deltoid muscle and two cm below the lowest border of the clavicle. In the same way the left arm electrode was placed on the left side. The left leg electrode was placed on the left iliac comb. This placement reduced the number of muscle artifacts caused by moving limbs.

Although this system reduced the variability in ECG uptake during exercise, it was not a direct equivalent of the standard positions. The Mason-Likar derivation system seemed to distort the ECG with a right-hand shift of the QRS axis, a reduction of the R-wave amplitude in leads I and aVL and a significant increase in the R-wave amplitude in leads II, III and aVF.

An exercise test with the Collins treadmill and a Tissot spirometer.


For four weeks, British physiologist Lewis Griffith Pugh (1909-1994) of the London National Institute for Medical Research studied six eminent British medium-distance runners during an acclimatization period at the height of Mexico City. He showed that, compared to sea-level performance, the times of the athlete in a 3-mile race increased by 8-5% within the first week of exposure to altitude. The performance after four weeks at altitude improved somewhat afterwards but was still 5.7% slower than sea level performance. He also expressed some concern that during and after a maximum workout at 2270m the heart is more irritable than at sea level, and that there is a potential increased risk of ventricular fibrillation.