Montreal Olympics: East German swim cheats cost Canadians golden momentFemale bodybuilding for weight loss following article reflected on those games east german swimmers doping the truth about that era. The movie will be released this swimmdrs along with a number of books on the subject. It is important that the sport remembers its past to safeguard its future. Reports from the East German Cold War Stasi files, first obtained by Phil Whitten and reported in Swimming World Magazineindicated that more than 10, athletes were party to the abuse; most unknowingly and without parent permission. Many of the women have gone on to east german swimmers doping psychological problems or have delivered children with birth defects from the after-effects of dopping.
A look at Olympic doping scandals through the decades | SBS News
In the seventies, the Berlin wall was part of a fortified border that split Germany in two. Officially, it kept the West out.
But in reality, it kept East German citizens in while their government sought ways to demonstrate communist superiority to the rest of the world. Rare glimpses of life behind the Wall suggested a sporting revolution. Talented children were handpicked for special sports schools. Coaches and doctors were employed full-time to train them.
Sports festivals became highly anticipated national events. Successful athletes enjoyed freedoms not available to their fellow citizens. This was the communist equivalent of fame and fortune — they became the public face of the German Democratic Republic.
In the Montreal Summer Olympics, the world took notice as East Germany, a relatively small country with few previous Olympic wins, triumphed with an impressive 40 gold medals.
The secret to their success would not come to light for decades: Girls as young as 12 were recruited from across the country, and without their knowledge, were regularly administered untested steroids and male hormones as part of their training. Ultimately, Olympic gold came at a disturbing price for many of the German athletes, specifically side effects ranging from male-type hair growth and deepened voices to liver and heart disease, depression, infertility, miscarriages, and even death.
The systematic doping began in when Party leaders met with the East German Sports Performance Committee to decide how best to guarantee gold medals and international glory.
A pill, known as Oral Turinabol, was given to the athletes to bolster their hormones. Oral-Turinabol, or O-T, was an anabolic steroid derived from testosterone. More than 3, Stasi moles within the sport system monitored scientists, coaches, and even athletes who secretly reported every move they and their colleagues made.
The web of informers meant the athletes had to be wary of what they said — probing questions or dissent were immediately and harshly punished.
Produced by the state-run pharmaceutical company, Jenapharm, it was given to the most promising athletes. O-T and other anabolic steroids increase muscle mass and hasten recovery time, allowing athletes to train harder and build up more strength. And because they are similar to testosterone, they have a greater impact on women, who have less real testosterone in their bodies to begin with. Many of the girls had barely reached puberty when they began receiving the hormone pills.
Their parents, too, were kept in the dark. And whether I wore a dress or a skirt, make up or jewelry, it got worse and worse. They called me a transvestite or gay, and it shocked me.
By the s, steroid use was growing throughout the sports world, and scientists were fighting a constant battle to catch up with ever-more-sophisticated doping techniques. At the Pan American games in , organizers asked West German scientists to set up a lab to test for illegal drug use. It was the first time a large number of positive tests became public. Steroids were becoming pervasive, and all athletes were affected.
Doping in the GDR was different from the doping in the West of the world but it was also different from the doping in other parts of the East. It was German, it was orderly, it was bureaucratic, it was written up. Explore more from this episode More.