26 Insane Doping Statistics: Olympics, WADA, and Scandals

Key Statistics about Doping

  1. Doping is defined as “Doping is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the antidoping rule violations set forth in Article 2.1 through Article 2.11 of the Code” by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency)
  2. The earliest forms of doping are reported to be back in ancient times when athletes ate figs and used other compounds found in nature to give them an edge at the Olympic Games
  3. “Modern doping” was brought to the forefront when Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson got caught for the use of Stanozolol or Winstrol at the 1988 Olympic Games
  4. A Sports Illustrated published in 1997 revealed that 98% of the athletes would take PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) if they would never get caught. 50% of the athletes reported that they would take PEDs to be able to win all the competitions in the following 5 years but then die
  5. Anabolic steroid use is commonplace around the world, and the industry was valued at USD 56.45 billion in 2021
  6. The most commonly used of the banned substances in modern sport would probably be Growth Hormone due to the few side effects
  7. Doping cases have steadily increased over the past half a century and will continue to do so due to better testing methods
  8. The Summer Olympics with the most positive cases of performance enhancing drugs was the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, totaling 132 positive cases
  9. The sports with the highest number of PED users are bodybuilding, athletics (such as track and field), cycling, and weightlifting. Keep in mind, steroids are not outlawed in some bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman competitions
  10. Perhaps the oddest of all doping methods include blood transfusions often used by cyclists to increase the number of Oxygen carrying red blood cells in their blood

Chapter 1: Doping at the Olympic Games

Biggest Doping Facts, Statistics

The Olympic games are undoubtedly one of the most prestigious events on the planet. It happens once every four years, and it goes without saying that all the Olympic athletes would want their one shot at a gold medal to be perfect. So much so, that Olympic athletes have often tested positive for performance enhancing substances.

There have been 442 positive doping tests since the 1968 Olympic Games

1967 the IOC banned the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and at the 1968 Olympic games held in Mexico City, Swedish athlete Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall tested positive for ethanol. Since then, there have been 442 positive cases at the Olympic games.

The most commonly used Steroid at the Olympics is Turinabol

Turinabol, TBol, or Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone has been reported as the most commonly used steroids under all the controlled substances. TBol is a rather mild steroid and passing a drug test while “on it” is quite easy. Being an oral steroid, the half-life is incredibly short.

Russia has so many positive cases, they have been banned from the Olympics

After the onslaught of Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal and the fact that Russian athletes have tested positive more than 150 times at the Olympics, various countries have expressed interest in banning Russia from the Olympics. At the Tokyo Olympics, Russian athletes competed under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Even horses can be part of Doping Violations

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, a horse named Camiro, ridden by Norwegian Tony André Hansen, tested positive for capsaicin. Capsaicin is rather mild compared to any other performance enhancing substance, however, it is still a banned substance.

Some Athletes were forced to take PEDs

In the 1970s and ’80s, East German professional athletes (swimmers particularly) dominated the competition. When the Berlin wall fell, it became apparent that these athletes were given prohibited substances without their knowledge.

Chapter 2: Sports Doping in 2023

With sport becoming a means to make a living, social media becoming a gold-rush, and sponsored athletes making millions, it would make total sense that elite athletes to do everything they can to make coin. Athletic performance has continued to improve year after year, and it’s not because the beef contains more protein than before.

It is estimated that more than 10% of male Athletes use a Prohibited Substance

Even back in 1989, a study found that more than 10% of male athletes have used anabolic steroids. Furthermore, that number has continued to rise since.

The public believes most athletes use Steroids – and they’re okay with it

It is quite common knowledge that athletic performance can be improved by using any prohibited substance. 18% of Americans believe at least half of American Olympic athletes use Steroids. 43% of Americans believe football, baseball, and track and field athletes use steroids. The reason? Records keep improving.

Not all banned substances are PEDs

Whenever people talk about PEDs, people always think of Anabolic Steroid use, doping violations, and blood doping. When you look at the stats, more than 25% of college athletes report using cannabis and more than 50% have used opiates.

Using Steroids can cost you a lot of Money

If you follow fitness in any form or manner, you have heard of Liver King. Liver King or Brian Johnson is not an athlete, but rather an influencer. He was involved in a doping scandal, where it was revealed that he has been using steroids and growth hormones after promising his followers numerous times that he was natural. After it came out that he was using steroids, he is being sued for $25 million by his customers. Oh, and they’re also illegal.

Chapter 3: Effects of Doping

You might be wondering why people use Steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs at all. Well, depending on the type of performance enhancing drug and how you use it, it will affect professional sports completely differently.

Anabolic Steroid users can see an increase in Strength of 20%

Anabolic Steroids such as Testosterone, Boldenone, and Trenbolone are known to increase lean muscle mass and strength mass. A study has found that steroid users find an increase in strength of up to 20% and an increase of 2-5 kg in body weight.

The more Steroids you use, the Stronger you get

Unfortunately, at the expense of their health and wallets, the more anabolic agents athletes use the better their performance gets. Studies have found that there is, in fact, a dose dependent reaction to most performance enhancing drugs.

Performance enhancing drugs can change your biology

Anabolic Steroids will bind to androgen receptors in the body, located all over the body. Logic would indicate that taking more would not equal more of a competitive edge, however, logic fails to take one thing into consideration. The more anabolic hormones that are in the body, the more androgenic receptors the body will produce. So, if you take anabolic steroids once,

Chapter 4: Sporting Events with the Most Doping

Now for a bit of fun. We know that most athletes will probably consider using anabolic steroids and we know that Russian athletes have even been banned from the Olympic games. So, which sporting events or which group of professional athletes fails the most doping tests?

The sports with the most Anabolic Steroid users are Bodybuilders and Powerlifters

This will not really come as a surprise, but the athletes that use the most banned performance enhancing drugs are bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other strength athletes. A study estimates that 54% of male lifters who claim to be bodybuilders are using drugs that fall under ‘performance enhancement’. 10% of female bodybuilders also use it.

Cycling has the highest number of positive cases in the Olympics

The Olympic sport with the most amount of positive cases is cycling. Carrying the torch for the sport would have to be Lance Armstrong, who was the perfect case study for blood doping. Lance Armstrong, a popular Tour de France winner admitted to using EPO, human growth hormone, and diuretics.

More than 40 Russian athletes tested positive at a single Olympic Games

The 2012 Olympic Games held in London was a bloodbath for any kind of doping violation. In total, more than 130 positive cases were reported to Steroids and related substances. A more frightening statistic is that the Russian team had more than 40 positive cases alone. This is the sporting event with the highest number of positive doping tests in history, a true doping scandal.

WADA tests more than 250 000 Athletes every year

The use of Anabolic Androgenic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is growing among athletes, as well as the severity of their usage. Thus, WADA, or the World Anti Doping Agency has increased their testing of professional athletes over the years to increase the number of accurate doping tests. Currently, they test more than 250 000 athletes every year.


What are the types of sports doping?

When competing for gold medals or hundreds of thousands of dollars, you best believe professional athletes will try to fool any drug test they can to win the dough. Some of the most famous doping substances include anabolic steroids, blood transfusion, hormones, and stimulants.

What sports use doping the most?

The sports that use the most performance enhancing drugs are weightlifting, bodybuilding, cycling, and other strength-based sports.

What is the most common doping drug?

The most commonly used doping drugs are Growth Hormone and Turinabol.

Famous athletes caught doping

Some famous athletes include Brock Lesnar, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, and Jose Conseco.

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Daniel Louwrens BSc PT

Daniel Louwrens BSc PT | Writer

Daniel Louwrens is a well-rounded fitness professional with over 10 years of experience in bodybuilding and fitness. He holds a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Western Cape and is a certified International Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He is also a skilled bodybuilder and head coach for Muscle and Brawn. With his knowledge and expertise, he provides personalized training, nutrition, and recovery guidance to help clients reach their fitness goals.

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