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  • On TV tonight in the UK...

    ...at 8pm on channel 5, there's a documentary about the old GDR sports doping regime. It's called the The Great Olympic Drug Scandal: Revealed, and sounds like something worth watching to me.
    http://twitter.com/Trackside2011

  • #2
    Pretty good programme, I thought. For those who have read 'Faust's Gold', there wasn't much new extra information in the channel five doc, but I thought it was a very good, condensed, one-hour summary of all the how/why/when type questions about the GDR system.

    And, like Faust's Gold, it mainly focused on swimming and Rica Reinisch, but there were a fair few mentions of athletics, too. Among the things I found most interesting was the bit about Margitta Gummel being used as one of the first 'experiments' to see how much drugs can aid performance (in her case, around 2.5metres in the shot). It also said that Ruth Fuchs is well aware of what went on in the GDR and acknowledges that the pills she was given were PEDs, but she is reluctant to criticise the system because of all the benefits she gained through it.

    All in all, it painted the GDR sportspeople in a pretty accurate light. They pretty much had no choice in the matter - they were fed into the system from schools based on their natural sporting ability. They were then trained to the extreme, using ground-breaking training methods. If they dared to question what the pills were, they were thrown out of the regime - thus losing all the benefits (travel, food, etc) that went with the system, so they learnt not to question it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jon
      Pretty good programme, I thought. For those who have read 'Faust's Gold', there wasn't much new extra information in the channel five doc, but I thought it was a very good, condensed, one-hour summary of all the how/why/when type questions about the GDR system.

      And, like Faust's Gold, it mainly focused on swimming and Rica Reinisch, but there were a fair few mentions of athletics, too. Among the things I found most interesting was the bit about Margitta Gummel being used as one of the first 'experiments' to see how much drugs can aid performance (in her case, around 2.5metres in the shot). It also said that Ruth Fuchs is well aware of what went on in the GDR and acknowledges that the pills she was given were PEDs, but she is reluctant to criticise the system because of all the benefits she gained through it.

      All in all, it painted the GDR sportspeople in a pretty accurate light. They pretty much had no choice in the matter - they were fed into the system from schools based on their natural sporting ability. They were then trained to the extreme, using ground-breaking training methods. If they dared to question what the pills were, they were thrown out of the regime - thus losing all the benefits (travel, food, etc) that went with the system, so they learnt not to question it.
      There are two pretty good books on the GDR athletic factory - one mentioned above "Faust's Gold" (circa 2002), and a much earlier one (circa 1980) called "The Miracle Machine" by Doug Gilbert. Unlike "Faust's Gold" the earlier one does not focus completely on drug use. In fact, since it did not have all the information gleaned after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it could not be as detailed on drugs. But it was pretty informative on how they selected children as potential athletes for certain sports.

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