A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today

by Daniel M. Rosen


This book chronicles the types and advances in doping techniques used by amateur and professional athletes over the last century. As modern medicine and technology have evolved, the drugs and techniques used to boost athletic performance have evolved along similar lines.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Dope

June 2008


Pages 264
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Sports, Recreation, and Leisure

Since the dawn of athletic competition during the original Olympic Games in Ancient Greece, athletes, as well as their coaches and trainers, have been finding innovative ways to gain an edge on their competition. Some of those performance-enhancement methods have been within the accepted rules while other methods skirt the gray area between being within the rules and not, while still other methods break the established rules. In modern times, doping - the use of performance-enhancing drugs - has been one method athletes and their trainers have used to beat their competition. The history of sports doping during the modern era can be traced through the events and scandals of the times in which the athletes lived. From the use of amphetamines and other stimulants in the early 20th century, to the use of testosterone and steroids by both the USSR and the United States during Cold War-era Olympics games, to blood doping and EPO, to designer drugs, the history of doping in sports closely follows the medical and technological advances of our times. In the early 21st century, the possibility of genetically engineered athletes looms. The story of doping in sports over the last century offers clues to where the battle over performance enhancement will be fought in the years to come.


  • This book includes a timeline of major milestones/events in the history of doping from the mid-1800s onward. It also shows that a number of popularly circulated stories about doping in sports don't hold up under close examination. For example, in 1886, an English cyclist was said to have died following the Bordeaux to Paris Derny race. However, the Bordeaux to Paris race didn't exist in 1886. It was first run in 1891. Second, the cyclist who supposedly died in 1886 actually died in 1896-from typhoid fever, rather than doping-related causes.


  • To round this landmark study, Dope features an afterword that addresses the final conclusion of the Floyd Landis doping case and brings the content up to the minute on other current doping scandals.
Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsForewordChapter 1 -- The Early History of Performance Enhancement DrugsChapter 2 -- The Beginnings of Modern DopingChapter 3 -- The Rise of East German Athletics And Other Tales of DopingChapter 4 -- Blood Doping, EPO and Human Growth HormoneChapter 5 -- An Explosion of Doping Cases and the Rise of Custom Tailored DrugsChapter 6 -- Is Everyone Doping?Chapter 7 Future Perfect: Genetically Modified Athletes?AfterwordChapter NotesTimelineIndex



"He corrects inaccurate stories about doping deaths in cycling and offers very current detailed developments in the Floyd Landis case. He explains difficult and changing drug detection methods and results. ...Recommended. Larger university coaching and sports medicine collections supporting lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."—Choice

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Women in Golf cover imageBig Sports, Big Business cover imageThe Sports Industry's War on Athletes cover image
Ringside cover imageEconomics of College Sports cover imageInternational Sports Economics Comparisons cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips