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In Blood Stepped: The History Of Blood Doping In Sport

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24 Sep 2016 15:56

While cleaning up some files I came upon this. It's from the LA84 site's archives and marked as coming from April 1954. It's not quite O2 vector doping but not without interest either, partic WRT the way performances were changing even ahead of blood transfusions:
Is the oxygenation of athletes a form of “ doping ” ?
In an article written by Mr. Gabriel Hanot, the French sport Bulletin L’Équipe recently published a report on the topic of the oxygenation of athletes. While quoting a few passages of this report we wish to mention a few of the personal opinions of experienced people on the subject.
It goes on to talk about the use of oxygen in football, particularly in South America. And Europe:
At a Conference held at Liverpool by the British Medical Sport Association, Roger Bannister, a medical student of world fame as runner of half distance race, made the following statement : all records would be beaten were we to administer oxygen to athletes in a manner similar to the one used in connection with the victorious team of the Everest climbers. From personal experiences made in Oxford, he is able to record the fact that : “While breathing the ambient fresh air, signs of fatigue make their appearance about the 7th or 8th minute afterwards as against only 22 or 23 minutes after the taking of oxygen.”
Others suggest it works better as récup:
According to Mr. Scopelli, the present trainer of the team “Espanol” of Barcelona and the most ardent supporter of the application of oxygen to footballers during half time and at the conclusion of the match. this inhaling of oxygen presents no effect of “doping,” it does not provoke any feeling of elation nor does it act as a stimulant. The players of his club have observed that after the administering of oxygen on the night of the performance, they feel much calmer than before, they sleep better and feel more rested the next day.
And, as to be expected, there's the inevitable claim that its performance results are nothing more than the placebo effect:
It seems that oxygen applied under medical supervision is harmless and that it does not present, under any form whatsoever, the characteristics of a drug except perhaps when acting on the imagination, as was the case with the bottle of sugar and water that was carried by the famous cycling manager of past heroic days : Choppy Warburton.
(Note: it was only in the 1990s that Warburton became a proto-Ferrari, his reputation had been well rehabilitated after his death.)
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Re:

24 Sep 2016 16:07

sniper wrote:Good info and analysis, Aragon, much appreciated.
You're right to take the anecdote with caution.

I reckon you know this book?
https://books.google.pl/books?id=5pTwCQAAQBAJ&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=Per-Olof+%C3%85strand+blood+doping&source=bl&ots=DtQPwKB5-m&sig=XYmyzMTlGCJ-GML8UQVuOEHZE4o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAWoVChMI_8Smw-q5xwIVRtgsCh0QuwjS#v=onepage&q=Per-Olof%20%C3%85strand%20blood%20doping&f=false
The incident is described at the bottom of p.118 (which I can't see in my preview) and top of the p. 119.
It suggests something about Astrand making similar proposals to athletes, btw.
But no specifications, unfortunately. So it all remains very anecdotal/speculative, etc.

I know the book and I am very familiar with the other writings of my fellow Finn Erkki Vettenniemi, who has written and edited several books on the history and ethics of anti-doping.

Vettenniemi has arguably the best knowledge on the historical source material on doping issues and there is a huge amount of interesting bits and pieces here and there in his books and articles. While there are several inconsistencies in the mainstream narrative of blood doping, having gone through a large amount of his mostly Finnish sources, I can only conclude that some of his claims are based on very weak material and most of his "revisionist" "new" findings are borderline embarrassing.

It is my impression that the Ekblom-, Åstrand- and Gjermund Eggen - material is on the more trustworthy side of his source material. Eggen is a Norwegian triple-gold medallist cross country skier who - according to the Finnish folklore - was the "first" blood doper in the 1966 Winter Olympics. Vettenniemi claims elsewhere that he has even a contemporary newspaper source from 1966 to back up the claim that an unnamed Norwegian cross-country skier went into a hospital to elevate his blood values in 1966.

Instead of writing a 10000+ word essay debunking his material, I can provide some background information if you have some a specific claim from that book that is of interest to you.
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24 Sep 2016 17:22

Aragon wrote:
sniper wrote:Good info and analysis, Aragon, much appreciated.
You're right to take the anecdote with caution.

I reckon you know this book?
https://books.google.pl/books?id=5pTwCQAAQBAJ&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=Per-Olof+%C3%85strand+blood+doping&source=bl&ots=DtQPwKB5-m&sig=XYmyzMTlGCJ-GML8UQVuOEHZE4o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAWoVChMI_8Smw-q5xwIVRtgsCh0QuwjS#v=onepage&q=Per-Olof%20%C3%85strand%20blood%20doping&f=false
The incident is described at the bottom of p.118 (which I can't see in my preview) and top of the p. 119.
It suggests something about Astrand making similar proposals to athletes, btw.
But no specifications, unfortunately. So it all remains very anecdotal/speculative, etc.

I know the book and I am very familiar with the other writings of my fellow Finn Erkki Vettenniemi, who has written and edited several books on the history and ethics of anti-doping.

Vettenniemi has arguably the best knowledge on the historical source material on doping issues and there is a huge amount of interesting bits and pieces here and there in his books and articles. While there are several inconsistencies in the mainstream narrative of blood doping, having gone through a large amount of his mostly Finnish sources, I can only conclude that some of his claims are based on very weak material and most of his "revisionist" "new" findings are borderline embarrassing.

It is my impression that the Ekblom-, Åstrand- and Gjermund Eggen - material is on the more trustworthy side of his source material. Eggen is a Norwegian triple-gold medallist cross country skier who - according to the Finnish folklore - was the "first" blood doper in the 1966 Winter Olympics. Vettenniemi claims elsewhere that he has even a contemporary newspaper source from 1966 to back up the claim that an unnamed Norwegian cross-country skier went into a hospital to elevate his blood values in 1966.

Instead of writing a 10000+ word essay debunking his material, I can provide some background information if you have some a specific claim from that book that is of interest to you.
thanks for the background info and thanks for the offer!
If some of these people (who according to vettenniemi used or were offered transfusions) are still alive, would there be a chance to interview them? That might be the only possible way to corroborate some of the rumors.
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24 Sep 2016 17:30

(continued...)
Still, despite all the methodological caveats which you rightly point out, it's good to see that at least people have *tried* to unravel the history of blood doping in the Scandinavian realm.
For the US, it seems almost nobody is looking or has looked at this.
We have the popularized myth, call it folklore, that LA 84 was the first time transfusions were used in the US, and everybody seems very happy to keep this consensus.
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Re:

24 Sep 2016 18:18

sniper wrote:(continued...)
Still, despite all the methodological caveats which you rightly point out, it's good to see that at least people have *tried* to unravel the history of blood doping in the Scandinavian realm.
For the US, it seems almost nobody is looking or has looked at this.
We have the popularized myth, call it folklore, that LA 84 was the first time transfusions were used in the US, and everybody seems very happy to keep this consensus.


first time they were 'caught' perhaps...no need to manufacture folklore where none exists
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24 Sep 2016 18:37

Edit:
Last edited by sniper on 24 Sep 2016 18:43, edited 1 time in total.
sniper
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24 Sep 2016 18:39

sniper wrote:(continued...)
Still, despite all the methodological caveats which you rightly point out, it's good to see that at least people have *tried* to unravel the history of blood doping in the Scandinavian realm.
For the US, it seems almost nobody is looking or has looked at this.
We have the popularized myth, call it folklore, that LA 84 was the first time transfusions were used in the US, and everybody seems very happy to keep this consensus.

Just for clarification.

To think that the main goal of Vettenniemi is to find the hidden bodies of the blood doping in Scandinavia or to reconstruct a comprehensive narrative of the subject is a vast misrepresenting of his views, as he has stated that his goal is to get rid of the Finno-centric narrative of the history of blood doping. If you actually make a synthesis of his main beliefs, he seems to believe the following things simultaneously:

1) Almost everybody (New Zealanders, Finns etc.) blood doped in 1970s...
2)... but Swedes and Norwegians were in the vanguard and blood doped already in 1960s...
3)... but even they weren't first transfusers because everybody knew how to blood dope already in mid-1940s and most likely blood doped from that point onward.

Just for the record, one must emphasize that he has a good knowledge on the issue and source material and he has done several brilliant articles on the subject of doping, of whom one is this:
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH2010/JSH3703/jsh3703h.pdf

Still occasionally his intrepretation of his source material brings into my mind the famous remark attributed to economist Ronald H. Coase about confirmation bias -- "If you torture the data long enough, it will confess".
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24 Sep 2016 19:05

@gillian, agreed on both accounts.

@aragon, I'm done for tonight but will catch up with that tomorrow. Really good, cheers.
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Re: Re:

25 Sep 2016 12:38

Aragon wrote:Just for the record, one must emphasize that he has a good knowledge on the issue and source material and he has done several brilliant articles on the subject of doping, of whom one is this:
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH2010/JSH3703/jsh3703h.pdf
One of his other Nurmi articles came up a few times when I was originally researching those blood doping pieces, the one about the testosterone snake oil. Have to confess, there's something about Vettenniemi that makes me wary of him, like with Jean-Pierre de Mondenard. You admire the depth and breadth of their knowledge but you do feel like they're over-reaching sometimes.

The Nurmi story is totally fascinating, the obsessive need some have to knock him off his pedestal, the crazy lengths they go to to drag him down to the gutter. Couldn't happen anywhere other than Scandinavia, that.
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Re:

25 Sep 2016 15:37

Tienus wrote:If you simply look at the times for long distance running it certainly looks suspiscious from 1965 onwards. I know Ron Clarke and Kipchoge Keino explained their fast times by the fact that they stayed at altitude until just before the race. Pre 1970 times where good for a long time and you see the same patern in 5k 10k and the marathon.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/80dbe34ba30b26fe60d13e5c3c2f7754.png
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/9a42edfc412d76319d227b562aeda0e1.png
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/099a8bef5646f8096b49369a62424eec.png

The records of Ryun, Keino and Clarke from 1960s are good and remain decent results to this day (especially true to Ron Clarke), but otherwise the seasonal bests of 1965-1970 aren't that impressive, for instance at 10000m there are several years when nobody ran under 28:00.

By focusing on a larger group of top runners, people usually make the case that time progress was very linear until 1990, after which both 10k and 5k improved suddenly and dramatically for one reason (EPO) or another (European managers searching for Kenyans and Ethiopians). Ross Tucker has dealt the issue on his website:

http://sportsscientists.com/2016/08/world-records-fossils/
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Re: Re:

26 Sep 2016 14:48

fmk_RoI wrote:
Aragon wrote:Just for the record, one must emphasize that he has a good knowledge on the issue and source material and he has done several brilliant articles on the subject of doping, of whom one is this:
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH2010/JSH3703/jsh3703h.pdf
One of his other Nurmi articles came up a few times when I was originally researching those blood doping pieces, the one about the testosterone snake oil. Have to confess, there's something about Vettenniemi that makes me wary of him, like with Jean-Pierre de Mondenard. You admire the depth and breadth of their knowledge but you do feel like they're over-reaching sometimes.

The Nurmi story is totally fascinating, the obsessive need some have to knock him off his pedestal, the crazy lengths they go to to drag him down to the gutter. Couldn't happen anywhere other than Scandinavia, that.

What I find most objectable is that he portrays himself as a honest and truth-seeking scholar with a very high standards on quality of his sources, but there are instances when this isn't that clear. When two years ago there was Norwegian book Den Store Dopingbløffen about alleged doping practices of the country, he attacked the book in a blog contribution, and set his scholarly standards really high:

On behalf of all scholars of sport who value scientific pursuit of truth over idle speculation, I would like to dedicate my first post of the year to the Norwegian scientists whose earnest endeavors regularly get overshadowed by attention-seeking amateur sleuths...

In addition, he objects that the book "not only thrives on speculation" but "ignores recent academic discoveries concerning the role of doping in Norwegian sport".

http://idrottsforum.org/forumbloggen/what-science-says-about-doping-in-norway/

In this light, I strongly recommend to read his contribution (linked by Sniper) in the Routledge Handbook edited by Danish scholar Verner Møller. The pages are on the other level very informative in facts, but his "original" contributions are claims about "non-Finnish skiers" being "allegedly" blood doped in 1960 and that later "it became known" that a Swede blood doped in 1972. These allegations are made in passing by people not least involved with the events and even the author of the 1972 claim doesn't believe the incident to be true.

In addition, Vettenniemi mentions that after the "groundbreaking" 1947 Pace-research paper "few people connected with elite sport could have ignored the blessings of blood boosting" and that the method "appears to have been in sportive use since about mid century". One cannot evaluate his source, because he offers none.

Needless to say, it is obvious that he hasn't read either the 1960-study (Gullbring et all.) nor the 1947 study (Pace et all.) and instead gets his data on the former from a 1979 Viren-biography that has some key facts wrong. I have nothing against people referring to material through secondary sources, but if his key thesis rests on these studies, then he should at least read and digest the material before vouching for it.
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Re:

10 Oct 2016 15:41

On the other hand, I hate these out-of-context-quotations from Dutch newspapers, but here a possibly interesting item relating to Bernard Hinault and his team from 1980. The key paragraph mentions four Finnish "blood doping specialist" doctors present in the training camp of Hinault's team ("In het trainingskamp van Hinault en diens ploeg in Opio aan de Cote d'Azur in februari waren vier Finse artsen aanwezig. Specialisten in bloedtransfusie").

http://leiden.courant.nu/issue/LD/1980-07-21/edition/0/page/10

While an interesting anecdote (if true), as such the alleged presence of Finns doesnt' proof much. Perhaps someone more familiar with the language can shed some light on the details and context of the paragraph.
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10 Oct 2016 16:06

Nice find, especially t the extent that it relates to GTs, and we're talking 1980.
As you say, it increases the smoke but there's still no fire.
It does show, imo, that speculation about Lemond and others blood doping in the mid-80s during GTs is, at the very least, plausible/warranted.

btw, your Dutch seems good enough. I don't think there's more (or less) to it than what you read into it.
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11 Oct 2016 10:03

Hinault on auto transfusions as written by fmk in part 3:
" It suffices to take some of one's own blood during the Spring when it is rich, hyper-oxygenated, and to re-inject it when one is fatigued. Is that really doping? Maybe not, except if the blood is placed into a machine to re-oxygenate it to the maximum."
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Re:

11 Oct 2016 11:36

Having seen that Hinault - quote several times, I've never quite figured out what the reference to "re-oxygenation" means, whether it is a reference to murky ozone therapies or substances elevating concentration of enzyme 2,3DPG or to something else. If anyone has an idea/knowledge I'd be interested to know.
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Re:

30 Oct 2016 13:00

After reading some portions of the brilliant and original book Spitting in the Soup, there are a few blood doping - related items that caught my attention:

- While not vouching for Eddie B's reading of the Jacques Anquetil's blood reinfusion method, at least Borysewicz seems to have considered the Frenchman's method as the same blood doping as was used by athletes since 1970s and had this opinion also when rethinking Anquetil a short time ago:
Spitting in the Soup wrote:Borysewicz recalled telling Anquietil that Polish riders took iron and vitamin supplements to help with recovery. Did Anquetil's doc give him something extra? "Yes," Anquetil replied. Twice a year he got a fresh transfusion of his own blood. "Because after the Giro, I can't recover for the Tour de France, so I need my blood", Borysewicz remembered the Frenchman saying... For Borysewicz, Burke's [blood doping] memo triggered memories of his dinner in France. "It clicked - Anquetil was doing the same thing," Borysewicz told me.

- Cyclist Alexi Grewal also claims in the book that blood doping was very prevalent at lower levels of sports in 1980s as "a college basketball player he grew with" told that "his team doctor extracted and stored blood for the players, and then reinjected it before important games".

- Third item is just notion on how blood doping was seen before it was banned. When modern commentators are critical of athletes who used questionable but not banned methods in 1970s or 1980s, it is customary to accuse these commentators of anachronism, ie. applying modern standards to past decades. Still some authors tend to overstate this case and claim that many ethically questionable methods such as blood doping were considered just "new science" and "modern exercise physiology" when they were introduced. This is not necessarily the case with blood doping, as two of the "inventors" of the method had following to say about blood doping already some 10-15 years before it was banned:

Björn Ekblom, 1972: "The question arises whether this type of blood transfusion described here is doping. Without a doubt, yes". ("Frågan blir då om den typ av blodöverföring som beskrivits här är doping. Enligt mitt förmenande utan tvekan ja").

Per-Olof Åstrand, 1976: "I think it is not unbelievable that there have been sportsmen who have used blood doping in major competitions. At the same time, I am naïve enough to hope that this hasn't taken place. This is totally banned". ("Jag håller inte för otroligt att det finns idrottsmän som använt bloddoping i stora tävlingar. Samtidigt är jag naiv nog att hoppas att man in har gjort det. Der är helt förbjudet.")
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31 Oct 2016 11:06

Good stuff.
There seems to have been some kind of blood boosting going on at the Junior World champs in Poland in 1974 (when borysewicz was working for polish cycling fed). It be baffled if Eddie didn't know the ins and outs of bloodboostong, having been trained at the Polish equivalent of the hochschule for koerperkultur and having worked with the creme Dr la creme of polish amateurcycling in the 70s. And that was no catpiss.
See my post about 1974 bloodboosting in the US cycling scene thread.
The greatest trick borysewicz ever pulled was making people believe he was not brought to the states for his knowöedge of dopings. And that he only looked at blooddoping that one time in 1984.
A funnt guy, Eddie.
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31 Oct 2016 13:14

sniper wrote:Good stuff.
There seems to have been some kind of blood boosting going on at the Junior World champs in Poland in 1974 (when borysewicz was working for polish cycling fed). It be baffled if Eddie didn't know the ins and outs of bloodboostong, having been trained at the Polish equivalent of the hochschule for koerperkultur and having worked with the creme Dr la creme of polish amateurcycling in the 70s. And that was no catpiss.
See my post about 1974 bloodboosting in the US cycling scene thread.
The greatest trick borysewicz ever pulled was making people believe he was not brought to the states for his knowöedge of dopings. And that he only looked at blooddoping that one time in 1984.
A funnt guy, Eddie.


i think for any person looking at the 1984 debacle involving EddyB you can only conclude that he had knowledge of it. You wouldn't set it up for your medal hopes on a whim. The question is only how much he knew about it. The fact that it was a big scandal, the fact is was a bit of a debacle (insofar as it was amateur to the extreme) would suggest he had a cursory knowledge of its working rather than being a master of the art....
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31 Oct 2016 14:34

That^ is a fair assessment, at least as far as this particular type (homologous) of blood boosting is concerned.
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