Ancient Greeks, 800 BC
Testicles from sheep, cola plants, stimulants from cacti, the fungus amanita muscaria. Success varies.
Nineteenth century; first competitive athletes
Caffeine, sugar cubes dipped in ether, Vin Mariani (wine with coke), codeine and strychnine. The last agent is a stimulant in non-lethal doses. The American marathon runner Thomas Hicks nearly died when he proved in 1904 unable to cope with the combination of coke and strychnine (rat poison).
Between the world wars
Sprinters start using nitroglycerin to dilate the vessels. Later they used Benzedrine. The runner Paavo Nurmi is said to have used oral testosterone preparations in 1920. The drug was called Rejuvin. The German athletes start spraying testosterone in the Nazi time.
After the second World War
Russian athletes use testosterone. They learned that from German doctors who fell into Russians hands after the war.
Americans develops Dianabol. In the early 1960s, coaches placed trays full of pills on the athletes breakfast table, scattering the blue glacees over their cornflakes. The drug is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.
The WHO protests in 1968 when the organization notices that doctors in some Third World countries prescribe steroids for menstrual problems and malnutrition. Probably, athletes were looking for an excuse to get the muscle enhancer. It happened mainly in Kenya and Jamaica, countries that will do better at the Olympic Games a few years later.
Communist steroids programs begin. In the case of the Russians, the initial dose is 35 milligrams of Dbol per day, but the sports doctors soon discover that the androgen receptors ‘slam shut’ if the hormone levels have been increased for a long time. Then you must either increase the doses, or end the use, or use another substance, or add agents. The Russians can’t help but keep taking it that way. At some point athletes reach ‘their peak year’, and thus use steroids, and then perform less for a while.
The East Germans work differently. They set an optimal dose of Dbol at 0.125 milligrams per kilo of body weight, but start lower. They work towards the optimum dosage in courses of four to six weeks. As a result, the androgen receptors do not clog up. The dosages will increase each cycle. The athletes use 24 weeks long in one year. The rest of the time they were off the drugs.
Women use a maximum of 5 milligrams per day. A little according to current standards, but then enough to win competitions.
Doping hunters enter the sport. Insiders know that everyone uses, so the hunters must catch someone. That will be the American asthma patient and swimmer Rick de Mont, who uses ephedrine. He has proof from the doctor but the doping hunters (lost) it. Only 30 years later, they did restore De Mont in honor.
In the seventies
The East Germans started experimenting with growth hormone. What exactly happened then is unclear because the papers have been destroyed. Probably when growth hormone from pigs was used. The East German government at least ended the experiment and never did anything with GH again. There was no money to buy human hormone.
The American athletes also use it, and even more so than the East Germans. In 1984, a group of female sprinters used 15 milligrams of Dbol and 10 milligrams of Anavar per day and 100 milligrams of Testosterone per week. The side effects are serious. Each year these athletes put twelve times as many hormones into their bodies as the East Germans.
Doping hunters catch Ben Johnson. Unjustified, says Francis. Based on the results, Johnson should have used stanozolol right before the test – and he didn’t. The doping hunters were probably out to set an example. Meanwhile, doping hunters are succeeding in demonstrating the injectable Winstrol V with their increasingly sensitive equipment thirteen months after use. The Russians then switch to the faster degradable Winstrol IV. The rest would rather take pills. There is no trace of this after two weeks. When the test methods become more sensitive in 1993, it rains positively for some time.
Doping hunters also succeed in detecting Anavar. Until then that was not possible. You can now demonstrate its use until two weeks after the last pill.
Initially, athletes can bypass the anabolic tests by using agents such as Probenecid and Defend, later was not possible. Athletes then grab a steroid called Maboleron, which until 1992 cannot be detected after four hours of intake. Athletes use it in the evening and leave doping hunters in front of a closed door next morning when they report for checking. The disadvantage of the drug, however, is that it reduces its own hormone production – it is made to bring hot cats back to the asexual path. This increases the testosterone-epitestosterone ratio and you can test positive.
Unknown steroids, for which the testers do not yet have instruments to detect, are becoming increasingly popular. At the Sydney Games, for example, doping hunters find an as yet unknown substance: Genabol. By the time the tests are finished the athletes have discovered another substance. Underground labs develop one new designer steroid after another in the late 1990’s.
To give you an idea of how sprinters use in 2000, Francis gives an example that a talkative athlete has whispered to him. Male sprinters use Anavar and Halotestin for 12 weeks. The latter means through Testopatches. In addition, GH: an injection of 2.5 IU (International Units) three times a week. Further injections with the energy phosphates ATP and AMP, one and a half unit of insulin three times a week and, last but not least, EPO.