Doping in the Olympics of 1980

The Moscow Olympics held in the Soviet Union in 1980 were called the “cleanest” in history as no one medal winner was disqualified for doping. But as former time winner and former chef of the secret police KGB told many years later, there was a doping exchange system in Moscow similar to the one later used by Russian special services during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In the 1980s, however, samples of not only Soviet athletes but of all participants in general were changed.

Doping in the Olympics of 1980
Doping in the Olympics of 1980

Preparation

The Moscow Olympics were carefully prepared not only by the sports federations of the Soviet Union, but also by the secret police of KGB. Three years before the Olympics, in 1977, the 11th Division of the Fifth Board of the KGB was established. The official task of the department was to implement measures to prevent the destructive actions of the enemy and hostile elements during and during the preparations for the Olympics.

In fact, the department also worked at the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, which received accreditation from the International Olympic Committee two weeks before the Games, which ended in the triumph of Soviet athletes: 195 medals, 80 of which were gold, as well as first place in the overall standings.

The Process

Two agents were accredited directly at the Olympic Doping Center. They filled containers of urine that were supposed to be athletes. Understandably, there was no doping in them, and the samples thus became clean. The process was purely mechanical. And if any sample was actually taken from an athlete, it was also replaced with a clean one to ensure that nothing was in it.

A day before doing the tests, the clean urine sample of an athlete was withdrawn from the FSB urine bank at night. The samples were placed in the working room, where they were thawed, the relative density of the samples was adjusted, and the changed were made. At night, samples were transferred from the protected area to an adjacent workroom through an opening, the so-called “mouse cave”. An FSB employee took the bottles with samples B and returned them open, without lids. Urine containing doping was destroyed from Samples A and B and replaced with the clean urine of an athlete, and the vials were transferred back through the “mouse cave”.

What Happened in Sochi?

34 years after the Moscow Olympics, the Olympic Games were held in Russia again but this time in Sochi. And there is no doubt that the athletes of the host country were on the top again. However, the International Anti-Doping Agency said that Russian special services had exchanged urine samples from athletes.

What Happened in Sochi?
What Happened in Sochi?

For the first time, a sample replacement mechanism for Russian athletes was used at the Sochi Winter Olympics, eliminating all the possibilities of revealing the truth. The athlete thus protected, from whom the medal was expected, was able to use doping without interference. Such athletes used doping both before and during the Olympics because they were sure that their dirty samples would be replaced in the Sochi laboratory.