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Doping is not a modern term. According to ancient reports found in the Norwegian Mythology, the use of strengthening substances was already common among the Berserkers. They were reported to take Bufotenin, which is known to enhance the physical performance and strength, Bufotenin originates from skin of toads as well as Amanita mushrooms.

The Word 'Doping'

The Kaffir tribe in Africa named a primitive alcoholic drink which was used in religious ceremonies as a stimulant with the phrase “dop”. Other reports describe Zulu warriors using “dop”, an alcoholic drink made of grape skins and cola beverage. In West Africa, the use of Cola accuminata and Cola nitida was also common during competition in walking or running. Consecutively, the Dutch colonists used the term “dop” to describe any stimulant beverage and hence the term was spread worldwide. Eventually, the term was adopted to a wider range of substances and in sports, using those substances was furtheron described as “doping”, first appearing in an English dictionary in 1889.

Ancient History

In the Greece of the Antique, specialists were described offering athletes nutritional ingredients in order to enhance their physical performance. This was considered absolutely necessary and the providers may be compared with current sports medicine specialists. Furthermore,  athletes were reported trying to increase their physical strength by eating different kinds of meat or testis prior to the games.
During the Olympic Games in the Third Century B.C. the athletes were trying to increase their performance using mushrooms. Filostratos reported that doctors were significantly helpful in athletes’ preparation for the games and cookers prepared bread with analgesic properties. In the 1st century A.D., it was also reported that the Greek runners were drinking a herbal beverage to increase their strength and to be capable of performing long duration events. Further writings about that period is difficult to find since the “doping knowledge” was hidden well by the priests.
The use of drugs in Roman history has been recorded, too. Chariot racers fed their horses with various mixtures in order to make them run faster. Gladiators are also described to use strengthening doping agents.

Doping in modern Sports

Doping in modern sports was reliably reported since the second half of the 19th Century.

1865The first documented case occured in swimming during the Amsterdam canal event. Thereby the intake of an unnamed performance-enhancing drug was described.
1867In the popular 6-days cycling races, the French athletes preferred mixtures based on caffeine, the Belgians used sugar mixed with ether, while others were using alcoholic beverages or nitroglycerin.
1896The first reported death caused by doping occurred in this year. The English cyclist A. Linton died due to ephedrine intake during the race Paris-Bordeaux.
1904At the St. Louis marathon, Tom Hicks who had just won the race collapsed and the Doctors proved strychnine and cognac intake before the race.
1910James Jeffries claimed, after he had been beaten by Jack Johnson, that his tea was contaminated/doped in order to defeat him. This is the first reported case, in accusing doped athletes. Many similar cases of doping have been reported in Boxing during the first half of the 20th Century.
1920Amphetamines, not only in sports a quite common drug during the 20th century, were produced for the first time in 1920.
1952During the Oslo ice skating games, there was an increased concern when ampoules and syringes were found in athletes’ locker rooms.
1960A dramatic increase in using doping substances started in the 1960s. The society believed those days that there were drugs capable of achieving everything. During the Olympic Games of Rome 1960, the Danish cyclist K. Jensen died due to an abuse of amphetamines.
1967In 1967 the 30 year old British cyclist Tom Simpson (amphetamines) and the runner Dick Howard (heroin overdose) died. In 1968, one year later, the German Box fighter Jupp Elze died after an amphetamine-cocktail.
1976In the Olympic Games of Montreal, the polish athlete Z. Kaczmarek and the bulgarian athlete V. Khristov (both weightlifters) were forced to return their golden medals after being proved for Doping.
1988Many other medalists had the same fate with Ben Johnson during the Seoul Olympics being the best known example. He was tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid (Stanozolol), was stripped of his gold medal in 100 meter sprinting and was suspended for two years. Later, it was proven that all or almost all of the finalists in that race had taken forbidden substances.
The dawn of the 21st century is characterized by many examples of Athletes being accused for doping. Examples are sprinters like T. Montgomery, D. Chambers, M. Jones to name only a few of the numberless known cases.
Unfortunately, doping is not only history but evidently is continued by new substances and techniques nowadays.