East Germany's Doping Regime
“They just used me like a machine.” That’s what Andreas Krieger told a judge in a Berlin courtroom in 2000. Andreas Krieger used to be Heidi Krieger, a former German shot putter, but after years of state-sanctioned steroid injections, the former Olympian underwent a sex change to become a man.
Krieger is one of thousands of East German athletes that were exposed to anabolic steroids during the 1960s through ‘80s. Government-run VEB Jenapharm supplied the steroids that were often given to athletes without their knowledge. The mass doping allowed a country of just 16 million to rival the United States and Soviet Union in medal counts. In 1976, East Germany took home 10 of the 12 gold medals in individual swimming events.
Despite suspicions and swirling rumors, no East Germans were ever stripped of their medals. But the biggest losers were those medal winners. Many have suffered from the steroids such effects as tumors, heart disease, cancer, infertility and depression.