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Survey: Min. 25 percent of athletes are doped

October 31st, 2007 by Louise Mousten Vestergaard · 1 Comment

A German survey uses a new response technique to answer the embarrassing question, and its results are rather disturbing. At least 25 percent, and maybe up to 48 percent of the athletes admit to have used illegal doping.

The numbers vary significant depending on which sport practiced. Among CGS athletes (athletics) the biggest proportion of dopers is found. In this category minimum 38 and up to 63 percent admit doping abuse.

The numbers are the results of an anonymous survey, made by a team of German statisticians, where German top-athletes in Olympic disciplines were asked about their current use of doping as well as their exposure to such practices in the past.

Estimates relating to the frequency of doping have so far produced a very broad bandwidth, ranging from the suspicion of large-scale doping-use outlined by the media, to test-results of WADA with approximately 1-2 percent positive results. The reliability of the German result is caused by high level of anonymity in the survey.


Werner Pitsch 

“No athletes can risk their career. Therefore you can only be sure that they will answer truly in a survey, when they are guarantied complete anonymity. In other anonym surveys the athletes have still been unsecured. In our way of doing it they can answer without feeling threatened,“ Werner Pitsch, lecturer, University of Saarsland explains.

Significant differences were found when comparing the athletes according to their competitive level. Between 27
and 58 percent of athletes competing on international level admitted use of doping, among athletes on a national level the numbers was only between 12 and 31 percent.

Because of different structure of doping in different countries, the results from German athletes can’t
necessarily be transferred into a global perspective. But in few weeks the team behind the results will begin to work on a new survey covering the same aspect in a more European level, by doing the survey in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Austria

How did they do?
The reliability on the German survey, ”Doping in elite sports in Germany: results of a www survey” is caused by
the way it is shaped. The web based interviews are made with help from a so called randomized response technique (RTT) which serves to more reliable response to questions relating to illegal practice. Because of this, the span width in the results are rather high, but so are the reliability of the numbers.

In the web-based interview, german top athletes in Olympic disciplines were asked about their current use of doping as well of their exposure to such practices in the past.

Tags: Theme: Anti-doping