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Performance-enhancing drugs & Doping

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Use of performance-enhancing drugs
In the early 20th century, many Olympic athletes began using drugs to improve their athletic abilities. For example, in 1904, Thomas Hicks, a gold medallist in the marathon, was given strychnine by his coach (at the time, taking different substances was allowed, as there was no data regarding the effect of these substances on a body of an athlete). The only Olympic death linked to performance enhancing occurred at the 1960 Rome games. A Danish cyclist, Knud Enemark Jensen, fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamines. By the mid-1960s, sports federations started to ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs; in 1967 the IOC followed suit.

According to British journalist Andrew Jennings, a KGB colonel stated that the agency's officers had posed as anti-doping authorities from the International Olympic Committee to undermine doping tests and that Soviet athletes were "rescued with [these] tremendous efforts". On the topic of the 1980 Summer Olympics, a 1989 Australian study said "There is hardly a medal winner at the Moscow Games, certainly not a gold medal winner, who is not on one sort of drug or another: usually several kinds. The Moscow Games might as well have been called the Chemists' Games."

Documents obtained in 2016 revealed the Soviet Union's plans for a statewide doping system in track and field in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Dated prior to the country's decision to boycott the Games, the document detailed the existing steroids operations of the program, along with suggestions for further enhancements. The communication, directed to the Soviet Union's head of track and field, was prepared by Dr. Sergei Portugalov of the Institute for Physical Culture. Portugalov was also one of the main figures involved in the implementation of the Russian doping program prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. One of the most publicised doping-related disqualifications occurred after the 1988 Summer Olympics where Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson (who won the 100-metre dash) tested positive for stanozolol.

In 1999 the IOC formed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in an effort to systematise the research and detection of performance-enhancing drugs. There was a sharp increase in positive drug tests at the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics due to improved testing conditions. Several medallists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing from post-Soviet states were disqualified because of doping offences. The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the Olympic Standard) has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations attempt to emulate. During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the auspices of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood tests were used to detect banned substances. In London over 6,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes were tested. Prior to the Games 107 athletes tested positive for banned substances and were not allowed to compete.

Russian doping scandal
Doping in Russian sports has a systemic nature. Russia has had 41 Olympic medals stripped for doping violations – the most of any country, more than three times the number of the runner-up, and more than a quarter of the global total. From 2011 to 2015, more than a thousand Russian competitors in various sports, including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports, benefited from a cover-up. Russia was partially banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics and was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics (while being allowed to participate as the Olympic Athletes from Russia) due to the state-sponsored doping programme.

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