1998 Independent: Drugs in Sport Survey

1998 Umfrage der Zeitschrift Independent: Drugs in Sport Survey

1998 führte die Zeitschrift Independent eine Umfrage unter britischen Athleten und Athletinnen mit Unterstützung der Sportverbände durch. Lediglich der Radsport- und der Ruderverband verweigerten die Kooperation
>>> Independent: Drugs in Sport Survey, 8.12.1998

Der Fragebogen wurde an 1.300 Personen verschickt, 300 antworteten.

Die Mehrheit war der Meinung, dass ihr Sport ein Dopingproblem habe. Nur wenige gaben zu, selbst zu dopen. Ein Drittel war der Überzeugung, ihr eigener Sport sei sauber und waren für verschärfte Maßnahmen gegen Doping. Die Befragung fand nach den Skandalen 1998 bei der Tour de France, mehren spektakulären Fällen im Schwimmen und Diskussionen um Doping im Rugby statt.

A male athlete of 34 echoed the sentiments of many. „What we saw from this year’s Tour de France is that doping is rife among European cyclists. This suggests – judging by the fact that certain doctors and team managers actually advocate doping as a means of `safeguarding health‘ – that it is probably not confined to cycling.“

The use of anabolic steroids, which help build muscles and allow intensive training, has long been one of the most serious problems. Very few British sportsmen and women have ever failed drugs tests for steroids, but three respondents to The Independent’s survey admitted using them, which suggests that many more may still be beating the system. Five respondents also admitted to illegal use of testosterone, which has similar benefits to those provided by steroids.

Three per cent of respondents said they used stimulants such as amphetamines, which are used to improve mental sharpness and can help athletes through pain thresholds; 5 per cent used narcotic analgesics, which help eliminate pain; and 16 per cent admitted „caffeine-loading“, which increases alertness.

Yet perhaps even more significant is the widespread belief that cheating is rife. Across all sports, 54 per cent believed that up to 30 per cent of those in their sport were using drugs illegally; 5 per cent believed between 30 and 60 per cent were doing so; and 4 per cent believed more than 60 per cent were cheating.

Niemand der Rugby-Spieler und Gewichtheber, die geantwortet hatten, glaubte, ihr Sport sei sauber, was zumindest 3 Prozent aus anderen Sportarten annahmen.

Steroide wurden von 16% als Problem in der Leichtathletik, von 40% im Gewichtheben, 46% in der Rugby Ligue und 31% in der Rugby Union angesehen.

Fast 57% der Befragten nahmen Kreatin ein, ein nicht verbotenes Produkt.

Näheres siehe hier: Independent: Drugs In Sport Survey: Creatine: anatomy of a `miracle‘ substance, 8.12.1998

43% sprachen sich für besseres Testen und härtere Strafen aus, davon waren 64 % Leichtathleten, 46% Spieler der Rugby Ligue, 61% der Rugby Union, 48% waren Schwimmer*innen und 80% Gewichtheber*innen. .

9% erklärten, Dopingmittel wären ihnen von Teammitgliedern, anderen Teilnehmern oder professionellen Dealern angeboten worden. Im Rugby waren das bis zu 46%.

Eine bedeutende Minderheit gab zu, keine ethischen Hemnisse gegenüber dem Konsum von Dopingmitteln zu haben.

The survey suggests the fight against drugs has some way to go, and it also shows a substantial minority have no ethical objection to taking drugs. More than 20 per cent said they would take drugs if they were legal, rising to 46 per cent in rugby league, 38 per cent in rugby union, 26 per cent in football, 22 per cent in tennis and 17, 15 and 13 per cent in cricket, swimming and athletics respectively.

„If others were improving as a result of taking performance enhancing drugs and they were allowed, it would be silly not to use them to improve one’s own performance and enhance the chance of international selection,“ said one cricketer of 24.

However, a swimmer reflected the views of many when he wrote: „The relaxing of drug laws would put tremendous pressure on people to take drugs, or else they would be driven from the sport and we will be left with a hard core of people who … will depend entirely on the correct cocktails of drugs rather than the correct combination of training. To me, this is not what sport is about and it should not be encouraged.“

Drugs in sport survey 1998 – retrospective

>> Sports Inrtegrity Initiative: Drugs in sport survey 1998 – retrospective, 3.11.2016

Anfang November 2016 erinnerte Nick Harris, einer der Autoren, an die Studie vor dem Hintergrund, dass in Großbritannien insbesondere den Radsport betreffend, die Dopingrealität der vergangenen Jahrzehnte ganz tief in Vergessenheit geraten war und verleugnet wurde.

The notion that cycling, or British cycling, was somehow ‘clean’ by the 1980s and 1990s, or specifically by 1998 when the survey was done, is risible. Indeed, when I did a much later investigation into doping in cycling, in 2012 after the USADA cycling investigation snared Lance Armstrong (and do devour all the USADA files if you never have), it was obvious British cycling still had the most stubborn, deaf-dumb-blind approach to acknowledging doping had ever happened in British cycling.

Without digressing too much, that 2012 investigation touched on Team Sky, their ‘zero tolerance’ policy, senior staff and coaches who were formerly riders, as well as a wider group of contemporary personnel in British cycling (British and non-British) who had ridden together – and doped together – in the late 1980s and 1990s. They know who they are, these former dopers bonded by their omerta. Some are still in senior positions, some not, and some recently not. What they did back then was, in the grand scheme of things, not such a big deal in itself: we’re talking about banned amphetamines and testosterone mostly, and perhaps a few of the more sophisticated ones dabbled as early-adopter EPO users in the early 1990s. Stuff that many if not all riders were doing.

Nick Harris bemerkt zur Umfrage:

The forms came back in – in fact they’re all here, still, on a shelf in my office – and the responses were crunched. Quite a few sportspeople did in fact want to talk further, in detail, about their experiences, although not many of them wanted to be on the record for interview. Swimmer Adrian Turner was happy to talk about competing against those he knew to be cheating and his frustration. My colleague Mike Rowbottom wrote a piece in which distance runner Jon Brown talked about his fears over a relatively new drug called EPO in his sport. Welsh runner Jamie Baulch spoke openly about competing against cheats. I personally met with rugby players (both codes), a weightlifter, several footballers and various Olympic athletes to talk about their own concerns and experiences. These informed various pieces.

Looking back now, three things are striking. First, creatine was a relatively new and legal supplement at the time. It is still legal but not new. But it had taken a very short space of time for it to become almost ubiquitous across all sports despite some concerns. I think it was true and remains so, more than ever, that athletes will quickly adopt any substance that is legal and offers improvement. This isn’t a surprise, but it’s worth remembering that most top sportspeople will probably always go as close to the line as they can, legally, even if not ever minded to cross it. That appears ‘normal’.

The second striking thing was that both codes of rugby seemed to have a major drugs issue even back in 1998; it was almost as if an entire genre of sport was being transformed by drugs, mainly steroids, to the point that the physical shape of rugby players was changing before our eyes. From some of the testimony, on and off the record, it seemed doping was rife in rugby. I see no reason that should have changed; arguably it is one of the most under-explored areas of doping in sport – a sport that is arguably among the most physically demanding.

The third striking thing was the contrast in willingness to engage. Only a small number those who advocated clean sport and felt vehemently that cheats were damaging them were actually willing to say as much publicly. That’s understandable, not wanting to make a fuss or expose colleagues, perhaps trusting ‘the system’ to do it for them. On the flip side, there was resistance to taking part on an institutional level only from a few, cycling being one sport.

Am Ende des Textes sind einige Artikel zu finden, die 1998 in Folge der Erhebung zum Thema im Independent erschienen sind.