Throughout history, there have been several doping scandals that shocked the world and changed the face of sports forever.
To find out more about some of the most outrageous moments and biggest scandals, as well as some fascinating doping in sports statistics, take a look at this article.
6 Eye-Opening Doping Statistics in 2022
- Doping became an issue after the 1960 Olympics.
- There have been 442 positive doping tests at the Olympics.
- WADA has invested $83 million on the development of more advanced drug-testing capabilities.
- The first drug disqualification occurred in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
- Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins were revoked due to doping.
- Doping resulted in a 4-year ban for Russia at the Olympics and the birth of the ROC.
History of Doping in Sports
1. Roman Gladiators used stimulants to prevent fatigue.
In 100 AD, Roman gladiators used to consume hallucinogens and stimulants, such as strychnine, to avoid exhaustion and injury. Chariot racers also fed their horses hydromel (an alcoholic beverage derived from honey) to help them gallop faster.
2. Doping became an issue after the 1960 Olympics.
Knut Enemark Jensen, a Danish cyclist died in the 100km team time trial competition at the Summer Olympics in Rome on August 26, 1960. The initial cause of death was put down to high temperatures; however, his autopsy later showed signs of Ronicol, an amphetamine, in his system.
3. The death of Tommy Simpson prompted the IOC to take action against doping.
Even though drugs were implicated in Jensen’s death, doping was never proven. However, when British cyclist Tommy Simpson died during the 1967 Tour de France because of excessive doping, the IOC was forced to tackle the issue.
The IOC formed the Medical Commission to establish medical testing for the Olympic Games and to study the issue of anti-doping controls.
4. The 1998 Tour De France will forever be remembered as the year of the doping scandal.
Known as the Festina affair, the scandal started when Willy Voet, the personal carer of top French competitor Richard Virenque, leader of the best cycling team in the world, was stopped at the Franco-Belgian border. Hundred grams and capsules of anabolic steroids, EPO and other doping products, belonging to the Festina cycling team, were found in his car.
The scandal soon unfolded, implicating other teams and resulting in the conviction of several doctors, pharmacists and team soigneurs who had assisted in doping practices. It even managed to partly overshadow France’s win of the 1998 World Cup in football.
5. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was founded in 1999 to combat doping in sports.
After the 1998 doping incident, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established as an international independent agency to “promote, coordinate, and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.”
The Prohibited List was curated, including substances and methods that have the potential to improve or enhance performance, pose an actual or potential health risk to the athlete, or breach the spirit of sport.
General Doping in Sports Statistics & Facts
6. Approximately 3.8% of cyclists broke anti-doping rules at the Tour de France in 2021.
In 1998, more than half of the Tour de France riders were involved in doping cases. Fortunately, the number of doping cases among competitors declined to 8.6% in 2017, going further down to 3.8% last year.
7. There have been 442 positive doping tests at the Olympics.
Since drug testing began at the Olympics in 1968, there have been 442 positive doping tests, which have led to the loss of 173 medals. 57 of these were gold, 66 silver and 50 were bronze medals.
Further drug use in sports statistics reveals that:
- Russian athletes have tested positive more than other teams, having a total of 133 positive doping results. They also have the highest numbers of medals lost—63, 17 of which were gold.
- In terms of sports, athletics (track and field) has the highest number of positive results, with 172 positive tests and 59 medals lost.
- Turinabol, an androgenic anabolic steroid, is the drug most commonly present in positive doping results. It has so far been found in 65 tests by itself and in another 35 as part of a drug cocktail.
- In addition to being one of the most expensive Olympics in history, the 2012 London Summer Olympics had the highest number of positive doping results—132, resulting in the loss of 13 gold medals.
8. The International Testing Agency (ITA) plans to test around 2,900 samples during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
The ROC, Germany and the USA were among the teams that received the biggest number of testing recommendations. Before the start of the Games, 95% of athletes who were issued recommendations had been tested at least once.
9. WADA has invested $83 million on the development of more advanced drug-testing capabilities.
Since 2011, WADA has put in $83 million in more advanced drug-testing capabilities and $3.6 million on research to prevent doping since 2005.
Doping Scandal Statistics
10. The first drug disqualification occurred during the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
(Global Sport Matters)
The 1968 Mexico Olympics were the stage of the first official implementation of doping tests in Olympic history, as well as the first-ever drug disqualification.
Swedish pentathlete Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall tested positive for excessive alcohol and was subsequently disqualified. Medallists’ urine was taken in and analyzed for narcotics and stimulants and even though many tested negative, there were still traces of abnormal chemicals in several samples.
11. Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins were revoked due to doping.
Lance Armstrong, one of the most famous cyclists, had won the Tour De France seven consecutive times. So it came as a shock when he was charged with using performance-enhancing drugs by the Anti-Doping Agency.
Armstrong ultimately chose not to dispute the charges, which cost him his Tour de France victories and a lifetime ban from cycling. Later in January 2013, he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he’d been doping for all of his Tour de France victories.
12. Doping resulted in a 4-year ban for Russia at the Olympics and the birth of the ROC.
According to several performance-enhancing drugs in sports statistics, Russian athletes account for 19% of all anti-doping rules in 2019.
The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from all international sporting competitions for four years in 2019, including the Olympics, over doping non-compliance. Last year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport cut Russia’s ban in half to two years following an appeal. The ban will now end on December 16, 2022.
Despite the ban, Russia found a way to compete in the 2022 Olympics, through the newly-formed ROC. This means they do not technically represent a specific country, but they still need to show they have no involvement with doping.
13. Therese Johaug was banned from the Olympics for using steroid-enhanced lip balm.
Therese Johaug, a three-time Olympic cross-country medallist from Norway, the country with the most Winter Games medals, was forbidden from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic. She tested positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol, receiving a 13-month ban and an 18-month extension on the original ban.
Johaug’s explanation was that her positive steroid test resulted from a team-approved lip balm she used to treat her sunburned lips.
Today, Johaug is back at the Olympics, winning the first gold medal at the 2022 Winter Games in the 15km skiathlon.
Sadly, the competitive nature of sports makes the use of performance-enhancing drugs a crude reality.
Despite the formation of committees and regular drug testing, doping in sports statistics show this to be as big of an issue today as it was back in the 1960s.