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Bbc World Service Documentary: East German Olympic Doping


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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003v0mw

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, East Germany won 25 medals. Twenty years later in Seoul, the Soviet Union headed the medals table, but second was not the USA but a nation of just 17 million people - the German Democratic Republic. To achieve this success, the East German state ensured that it had the best of everything - facilities and equipment, coaching and medical back-up, psychological testing and dietary supplements. However, it was the scale of state sponsored doping - State Plan 14.25 - that set East Germany apart from any other sporting nation. Over a twenty year period in the 1970s and 1980s, up to 10,000 athletes were chemically doped. Each year hundreds of thousands of steroid pills were administered. And the programme worked. East Germany became synonymous with gold medals and world records.

At its height, the programme employed up to 1,500 scientists and doctors. This was all backed up with the utmost secrecy - brutally enforced by the secret police, the Stazi. Then, in November 1989, a dramatic moment in history occurred - the Berlin Wall came down. With the fall of the wall, East Germany's sporting structure also collapsed. One of the many legacies of a united Germany has been how it deals with the effects of State Plan 14.25. Hundreds of athletes have been left with long term physical ailments; particularly in the case of female competitors. Many of those affected feel they have been let down by the authorities. They have been left to live with the often appalling health problems associated with years of drug abuse, drugs that were often administered to children as young as eleven.

On the eve of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, BBC Science reporter Matt McGrath investigates the legacy of East Germany's sporting system in part one of a two part Discovery special - Sport's Greatest Cover Up.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003v0mw

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, East Germany won 25 medals. Twenty years later in Seoul, the Soviet Union headed the medals table, but second was not the USA but a nation of just 17 million people - the German Democratic Republic. To achieve this success, the East German state ensured that it had the best of everything - facilities and equipment, coaching and medical back-up, psychological testing and dietary supplements. However, it was the scale of state sponsored doping - State Plan 14.25 - that set East Germany apart from any other sporting nation. Over a twenty year period in the 1970s and 1980s, up to 10,000 athletes were chemically doped. Each year hundreds of thousands of steroid pills were administered. And the programme worked. East Germany became synonymous with gold medals and world records.

At its height, the programme employed up to 1,500 scientists and doctors. This was all backed up with the utmost secrecy - brutally enforced by the secret police, the Stazi. Then, in November 1989, a dramatic moment in history occurred - the Berlin Wall came down. With the fall of the wall, East Germany's sporting structure also collapsed. One of the many legacies of a united Germany has been how it deals with the effects of State Plan 14.25. Hundreds of athletes have been left with long term physical ailments; particularly in the case of female competitors. Many of those affected feel they have been let down by the authorities. They have been left to live with the often appalling health problems associated with years of drug abuse, drugs that were often administered to children as young as eleven.

On the eve of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, BBC Science reporter Matt McGrath investigates the legacy of East Germany's sporting system in part one of a two part Discovery special - Sport's Greatest Cover Up.

There's also a good book on the topic called 'Faust's Gold: Inside the eat German Doping Machine' written by Steven Ungerleider.

East Germany won more Gold medals per head of population than any nation on earth. But we must acknowledge that lots of nations had a state sponsored doping regime - East Germany comes under fire more because theirs was more successsful.

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There's also a good book on the topic called 'Faust's Gold: Inside the eat German Doping Machine' written by Steven Ungerleider.

East Germany won more Gold medals per head of population than any nation on earth. But we must acknowledge that lots of nations had a state sponsored doping regime - East Germany comes under fire more because theirs was more successsful.

It was also a mass experiment on their own citizens. It was highly organized and state sponsored. What's interesting too, are quotes from Dick Pound, talking of how the IOC knew what was going on and tolerated it for the sake of a "unified Olympic movement". I mean, the IOC and the Olympics were in the toilet 1972-1984, and they were worried about it falling apart.

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It was also a mass experiment on their own citizens. It was highly organized and state sponsored. What's interesting too, are quotes from Dick Pound, talking of how the IOC knew what was going on and tolerated it for the sake of a "unified Olympic movement". I mean, the IOC and the Olympics were in the toilet 1972-1984, and they were worried about it falling apart.

True.

Also, some steroids were only banned in the 1970's so doping was tolerated in a legal sense too. Further, their drug testing measures were not very savvy as it was fairly easy to dupe them.

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It isn't that it was more successful than any other system only, but since the state doesn't exist anymore it is easier to blame...

Huh? The East Germans were the most egregious dopers ever in the history of sport. What is this "...the state doesn't exist anymore, it is easer to blame..." nonsense? It's because the state doesn't exist anymore that the truth can fully come out!

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Huh? The East Germans were the most egregious dopers ever in the history of sport. What is this "...the state doesn't exist anymore, it is easer to blame..." nonsense? It's because the state doesn't exist anymore that the truth can fully come out!

Not true.

The Soviet Union was doping long before East Germany got in on the act. As was the United States.

To single out Germans for criticism it is important not to forget EVERYONE who was doping.

Part of the reason that East Germany comes under scrutiny is because it is:

1. Germany - it is perceived to be acceptable to be critical of Germany due to it's 'history'.

2. Germany itself has opened up it's files for scrutiny. The United States and Eastern bloc countries have not.

Therefore, Germany gets more criticism even though other countries were doping long before they started.

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Not true.

The Soviet Union was doping long before East Germany got in on the act. As was the United States.

To single out Germans for criticism it is important not to forget EVERYONE who was doping.

Part of the reason that East Germany comes under scrutiny is because it is:

1. Germany - it is perceived to be acceptable to be critical of Germany due to it's 'history'.

2. Germany itself has opened up it's files for scrutiny. The United States and Eastern bloc countries have not.

Therefore, Germany gets more criticism even though other countries were doping long before they started.

Umm, the United States has NEVER had a state sponsored doping program. While there may have been INDIVIDUAL athletes doing their own illegal and unethical things, DO NOT say the "United States" was doing it. The East German program was fully state sponsored and the most developed.

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Umm, the United States has NEVER had a state sponsored doping program. While there may have been INDIVIDUAL athletes doing their own illegal and unethical things, DO NOT say the "United States" was doing it. The East German program was fully state sponsored and the most developed.

It's true that it was never done at a state level like in East Germany or the Soviet Union but it is also true that cheating was going on all the same. The United States Olympic authorities have been known to cover up failed drugs tests of selected athletes. Case in point : legendary athlete Carl Lewis tested positive for 3 stimulants in 1988 but the authorities covered it up so he could go and get glory for America at the 88 Seoul Olympics.

Due to the commercial aspect of sport in America, fame is pursued at all costs. Just look to how recently the Balco scandal revealed a doping culture in the SanFrancisco Bay area of California.

But it is true that East Germany had the most advanced drug testing program. This is through a combination of necessity, being a socialist state with an ideology fixated upon defeating the west, and through highly advanced sports science. The Soviet Union was just as bad, if not worst considering they were at it decades before Germany however.

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It's true that it was never done at a state level like in East Germany or the Soviet Union but it is also true that cheating was going on all the same. The United States Olympic authorities have been known to cover up failed drugs tests of selected athletes. Case in point : legendary athlete Carl Lewis tested positive for 3 stimulants in 1988 but the authorities covered it up so he could go and get glory for America at the 88 Seoul Olympics.

Due to the commercial aspect of sport in America, fame is pursued at all costs. Just look to how recently the Balco scandal revealed a doping culture in the SanFrancisco Bay area of California.

But it is true that East Germany had the most advanced drug testing program. This is through a combination of necessity, being a socialist state with an ideology fixated upon defeating the west, and through highly advanced sports science. The Soviet Union was just as bad, if not worst considering they were at it decades before Germany however.

Carl Lewis' "doping" was inadvertent, and not intentional, from taking cold medication.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/athletics/2989361.stm

The nine-time Olympic gold medallist has been given the all-clear by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), despite being named as one of eight athletes to test positive for banned substances in low concentration at the US Olympic trials in Indianapolis.

Lewis was one of 19 American athletes named by Dr Wade Exum, the former US Olympic Committee director for drug control, who released evidence of more than 100 positive drug tests involving US athletes from 1988 to 2000.

In all, the documents implicated 19 Olympic medallists from 1984 to 2000.

Lewis was one of three gold medallists at the 1988 Olympics who Exum said tested positive for stimulants at the 1988 trials.

But the IAAF said in a statement: "The IAAF Medical Committee felt satisfied, however, on the basis of the information received that the cases had been properly concluded by the USOC as 'negative cases' in accordance with rules and regulations in place at the time and no further action was taken.

"For this reason, the athletes concerned ... who went on to compete at the Olympic Games in Seoul were eligible to do so in accordance with IAAF Rules."

The USOC first disqualified Lewis before accepting his appeal that he had taken the stimulants inadvertently through an over-the-counter herbal remedy.

Balco was a private company that involved private individuals with private athletes. Your attempt to somehow mitigate the GDR's record on doping by saying "other countries did it" is laughable, and you CANNOT accuse the USA, or the USOC of doping. What some individual athletes did is something quite different from a fully state sponsored government approved covert doping program, like what the GDR had.

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Carl Lewis' "doping" was inadvertent, and not intentional, from taking cold medication.

Balco was a private company that involved private individuals with private athletes. Your attempt to somehow mitigate the GDR's record on doping by saying "other countries did it" is laughable, and you CANNOT accuse the USA, or the USOC of doping. What some individual athletes did is something quite different from a fully state sponsored government approved covert doping program, like what the GDR had.

Why are you misconstruing my words? Please actually rwad my words. I am not disagreeing with you!!!!

I NEVER said that there was a state sponsored doping system in the United States. There is however a doping culture which has been demonstarted with all the failed drug tests, Balco scandal etc. Other countries have doping cultures aswell. The United States has had more failed drug tests posts 1989-fall of communism than any nation on earth. The doping wasn't state sanctioned but it was there none the-less.

Further, The USOC did cover up Carl Lewis' negative test as it wasn't until nearly two decades after that the world knew about it. Further, the IAAF said it trusted the USOC in their assessment of Lewis' failed drug test but this doesn't change the fact it took nearly two decades to make it known. I am not saying the USOC was doping but their practices could have been better in the levels of transparency.

And stop saying I am trying to mitigate the GDR's records. You don't know me so please just quote my actual words. The GDR's files are able to be looked at since the collapse of the state. That transparency is not available in a lot of other nations. So we can analyse their files but don't get that same priviledge in say Russia. Yes, the GDR cheated but to only marginalise German cheating and negate other nations cheating like the Soviet Union is silly in my opinion. That was one of my points.

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Of course, poor Cornelia Ender and her colleagues....they are the true victims in this. And not only were their lives (and health) ruined many years later: some suffered nearly destroyed livers; some had ovarian cancers, etc., etc. Of course that Manfred guy went to prison in the final years of his life but what about the wasted lives of those women? (I don't think the guys were affected that much.) But I wonder if they still display their medals on their bookcases.

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