A history of Olympic drug-cheats
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 11:03p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
There has been a long and dishonourable line of drugs-cheats over the past forty years.
None of the powerhouses of athletics have a blemish-free record.
One of the dirtiest races in history was at Seoul 1988 Olympic final.
Ben Johnson powered past Carl Lewis in a new world record time.
But sensationally, the champion tested positive for steroids, lost his gold and athletics has never been the same since.
Lewis had also tested positive for stimulants in America that year. Only his bosses bought his excuses.
Third-placed Linford Christie got the benefit of the doubt for taking a stimulant in the same race but got caught for doping 11 years later.
Until then, it was always felt the East Germans were the worst offenders. They were bad and it was systematic. Take female shot putter Heidi Krieger. Her coaches pumped her so full of steroids she had to have a sex change.
Then there were the Chinese swimmers in the ‘90s. Breaststroker Yuan Yuan took it out on the media after human growth hormone was found in her kit, but she was one of 40 to fall foul of doping rules.
Remember Marion Jones, the darling of Sydney? She was caught up in the San Francisco BALCO drug scandal and admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs, was stripped of her five golds and served time for perjury.
“I have betrayed your trust,” said the disgraced sprinter. “I want you to know that I have been dishonest and you have the right to be angry with me.”
The same scandal also involved Nared Justin Gatlin, who has just won bronze in the 100-metres after serving a four-year ban.
Then there was American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, banned eight years after he won in Athens for blood-transfusing.
It was in Athens too that the weirdest Olympic drug story played out. Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were the faces of the Games, and faked a motorcycle crash after missing a drugs test. They withdrew in the interest of the country.
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