Profiles in Speed

Doping at the Summer Olympics

Olympic athletes have tried to boost their performances since at least 1904, when the marathon winner drank brandy and strychnine during the race. Some won, some got sick, and one Danish cyclist died. But none of it was against the rules until the late 1960s, when the International Olympic Committee banned doping and began to test for it. Since then, cheaters often have been a few steps ahead of those who try to catch them.


SOURCES: "The Integrity of Sporting Performance at the Olympic Games and at Other Elite Sports Events," by J.EJ. Spender; "The Complete Book of the Olympics," by David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky; "Analytical chemistry at the Games of the XXIIIrd Olympiad in Los Angeles, 1984," by Don H. Catlin, et al.; WADA; USADA; IAAF. GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz - The Washington Post. Published July 11, 2012.