The 7 Most Controversial Doping Cases in the History of Sports

You may already know that doping is everywhere in sports. There’s a wide consensus that many if not all sportsmen take performance-enhancing drugs nowadays.
It all started with athletes taking stimulants and steroids to gain an advantage over their competitors. When the practice got banned, nobody really stopped using dope. Why would you play fair if you know your competitors are going to cheat?
This is why year after year we see dozens of new sports scandals break out. Here are the top 7 scandals of all times.

The Ben Johnson Scandal of 1988

The winner of the 100-meter dash at the 1988 Olympics was obvious. Ben Johnson, a legendary sprinter at the time, completed the dash in just 9,79 seconds, thus beating his own record.
Three days later, he was accused of doping and stripped of his medal. This made worldwide news.
His team’s argument was that everybody cheats, but it was Johnson who got caught.
The medal was given to the runner-up, Carl Lewis, who was Johnson’s arch nemesis. 15 years later, however, it was revealed that Lewis too had tested positive for drugs.
Did they take away his medal? No, not really. The thing is, the amount of dope in your blood that’d get you disqualified was significantly higher in 2003 than it was in 1988.
So, while technically Lewis shouldn’t have competed in the 1988 Olympics, he wasn’t stripped of the medal as there was no basis for it in 2003.
This story is weird and shows us how strange the world of global sports is today.


Doping at Dog Races

Did you know that dogs get dope as well? There is a 1000-mile long race in Alaska. The contestants compete on dog sleds, which is a popular type of transportation in Alaska.
You probably never heard of this competition, but in 2017 there was a big scandal surrounding it. The winning team’s dogs tested positive for tramadol, a drug strictly forbidden by the competition’s rules.
The owner claims it was a sabotage, and unlike in other sports, his companions tend to believe him.
This shows how pervasive doping is in sports. Even in the least known competitions, people turn to drugs to win.

The Floyd Landis Scandal

If you’re not into cycling, you probably haven’t heard about this man before. However, he had a successful sports career in the late 1990s.
He consistently won different cycling races. The only one that he could not conquer was the legendary Tour de France. His best result was coming in 61st in 2002, while in 2003, he did even worse than that.
However, his achievements began improving soon. The thing is, taking testosterone has roughly the same effect as getting to write a paper for you. Your scores improve at a remarkably fast rate in both cases.
Coming from number 77 to number one in just three years looked suspicious. The tests proved he took testosterone to increase his performance.
After four years of legal battles, Landis realized his career was over and pointed the finger at Lance Armstrong. Landis didn’t fall alone.

The Lance Armstrong Scandal

You have probably heard about this cyclist even if you never cared about Tour de France. He was the most popular cyclist in his time.
All of that changed once Floyd Landis accused him of doping. The allegations proved to be true, and Armstrong was stripped of his titles.
This scandal came as a shock to the public, but the experts weren’t really surprised.
This story just shows us how competitive sports are for athletes. You can’t succeed without the drugs, but if you get caught, your career is ruined.

The BALCO Scandal

Still don’t believe most sportsmen take drugs to increase their performance? Wait till you hear this!
BALCO was one of the many companies that produced and marketed undetectable steroids. When a testing process for their steroids was developed and they weren’t undetectable anymore, a scandal erupted.
Out of 550 athletes tested for tetrahydrogestrinone (the BALCO steroid), 20 registered positive. These were top-performing sportsmen from baseball, basketball, football, box, cycling, and other sports.
The trainers and the founder of BALCO went to jail for a short time. The audience was left wondering how many other drugs remain untraceable in the world of big sport.

The Biogenesis Scandal

The Baseball League wasn’t against steroids up until the BALCO scandal. After it, the League implemented a 50-game suspension for athletes caught taking doping a first time.
This is exactly what happened in 2013 after 13 major baseball players were discovered to have purchased doping from Biogenesis company. All of them were immediately penalized and received a 50-game ban.

The Russian Scheme

Big sport really helps promote a country’s image. This is what lead Russia to start doping their athletes on an industrial scale.
The investigation showed that Russian athletes were a part of a huge doping scheme. In 2013, lab tests showed that 255 Russian athletes had taken some kind of forbidden substance.
In 2015, it became apparent that the numbers were actually bigger. Russian secret services allegedly destroyed thousands of test samples to cover up the traces of doping in their athletes.
This scandal really showed the ugly side of sport and the political intrigues involved in it.