History of sports medicine - 1968


Under the leadership of the Canadian Orthopedic Surgeon John C. Kennedy (1917-1983), the Canadian selection received for the first time an official team of sports physicians during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Kennedy would establish the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine two years later.


To achieve the highest sports ambitions, the Forschungsinstitut für Körperkultur und Sport (FKS) (Research institute for physical culture and sport) was established in the GDR. It related a research institute to the Institute of Sports Medicine of the Deutsche Hochschule für Körperkultur (German University of Physical Education) in Leipzig. As a result of the successful work at the FKS, sport-specific ergometers were introduced in several sports in 1974. But they also developed products and methods for state-mandatory doping in competitive sports. The FKS worked closely with Jenapharm's research department and the Zentralinstitut für Mikrobiologie und experimentelle Therapie (Central Institute for Microbiology and Experimental Therapy) to develop new doping products. In 1988, FKS ordered 60,000 mestanolone tablets (STS 646) from Jenapharm, that number was sufficient for 20,000 to 30,000 "treatment days" of weightlifters, wrestlers, swimmers, and athletes from the throw and put competitions. During the Olympic cycle from 1984 to 1988, the FKS conducted 21 doping research projects. Former FKS director Hans Schuster (1928-2009) believed that the international top position of the GDR could not be maintained without the administration of anabolic steroids. The idea about the use of androstenedione in competitive sports originated with the FKS, when Chemistry professor Kurt Schubert (1919-1991) of the Zentralinstitut für Mikrobiologie und experimentelle Therapie (ZIMET), R&D director Michael Oettel (1939-) of the pharmaceutical company Jenapharm and Jürgen Lever of the pharmaceutical company GERMED participated in a colloquium in June 1981. Professor of Biochemistry and Endocrinology Winfried Schäker of the FKS worked on a series of human experiments to improve the dosing and acceptance of doping substances in athletes. Middle-distance runner Volker Heinrich (1956-2015) was forced into a doping system and a criminal investigation was carried out at FKS. According to the German weekly Spiegel, in December 1989 promotion B was accepted by the German physician Günter Rademacher who worked at the FKS. Under the title: "Comparison of the effects of different anabolic steroids in animal models and on a selected functional system of competitive athletes and evidence of the practical relevance of the theoretical and experimental conclusions" it was explained that the concomitant use of Oral-Turinabol and STS 646 was successful evidence in endurance sports during the preparation of the 1988 Olympics. The FKS was the only institution for high-quality sports research in the GDR and when it closed in 1990 it employed over 600 people.


In order to avoid the humiliating visual examination of sex determination, buccal mucosa smears were started in 1968 for the genotyping of sexual differences.


The British Sports Council invested £ 2,500 in a joint research project between the Medical Research Council and the British Olympic Association, which examined the effect of high altitude on athletes during the preparation for the Mexico Olympics.


In his book "Aerobics", American sports physician Kenneth Cooper (1931-) listed the benefits of training the cardiovascular system, promoting the home use of the treadmill. Cooper's research on the benefits of aerobic exercise provided medical arguments that supported the commercial development of the home treadmill and home trainer.

Cooper also developed the Cooper test named after him, an exercise in which the condition of, for example, a runner is measured, which must cover the greatest possible distance in 12 minutes.

He convinced the US military leadership to use the test to determine the endurance of the military.

Almost the entire sports world uses the Cooper test to determine a person's basic condition. If the test is done on a treadmill or home trainer, an ECG is usually taken to get an idea of the condition of the heart. Cooper opted for 12 minutes of effort because after that time the heart rate in most cases no longer rises and thus a steady state arises, but also to be able to perform as many reliable tests as possible on a daily basis.

Various schedules are used for different types of people:

Cooper test (Athletes & Juniors)
AgeM/FVery goodGoodAverageBadVery bad
13-14 M 2700+ m 2400 - 2700 m 2200 - 2399 m 2100 - 2199 m 2100- m
F 2000+ m 1900 - 2000 m 1600 - 1899 m 1500 - 1599 m 1500- m
15-16 M 2800+ m 2500 - 2800 m 2300 - 2499 m 2200 - 2299 m 2200- m
F 2100+ m 2000 - 2100 m 1700 - 1999 m 1600 - 1699 m 1600- m
17-19 M 3000+ m 2700 - 3000 m 2500 - 2699 m 2300 - 2499 m 2300- m
F 2300+ m 2100 - 2300 m 1800 - 2099 m 1700 - 1799 m 1700- m
20-29 M 2800+ m 2400 - 2800 m 2200 - 2399 m 1600 - 2199 m 1600- m
F 2700+ m 2200 - 2700 m 1800 - 2199 m 1500 - 1799 m 1500- m
30-39 M 2700+ m 2300 - 2700 m 1900 - 2299 m 1500 - 1899 m 1500- m
F 2500+ m 2000 - 2500 m 1700 - 1999 m 1400 - 1699 m 1400- m
40-49 M 2500+ m 2100 - 2500 m 1700 - 2099 m 1400 - 1699 m 1400- m
F 2300+ m 1900 - 2300 m 1500 - 1899 m 1200 - 1499 m 1200- m
50+ M 2400+ m 2000 - 2400 m 1600 - 1999 m 1300 - 1599 m 1300- m
F 2200+ m 1700 - 2200 m 1400 - 1699 m 1100 - 1399 m 1100- m
Cooper test (Experienced athletes)
GenderVery goodGoodAverageBadVery bad
Male 3700+ m 3400 - 3700 m 3100 - 3399 m 2800 - 3099 m 2800- m
Female 3000+ m 2700 - 3000 m 2400 - 2699 m 2100 - 2399 m 2100- m


In the spring of 1968, Karl Adam (1912-1976), considered one of the most successful rowing coaches in the world, established a rowing academy in Ratzeburg, Germany.

In parallel, the Sportmedizinischen Forschungs- und Untersuchungszentrum (Sports medical research and investigation center) of German Professor of Sports Medicine Paul E. Nowacki (1934-) also started.

Jaeger installed the first research platform for ergospirometry.


The first treadmill for home use was developed by American mechanical engineer William Staub (1915-2012).

Staub developed his treadmill after reading Kenneth Cooper's book "Aerobics". It stated that persons who would walk four to five times eight minutes every week were in better physical condition. Staub noticed that there were no affordable household treadmills and decided to build one for his own use. He called it the PaceMaster 600. Once finished, Staub sent his prototype to Cooper, who brought in the first customers. Staub then started production.