Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times before the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a 1,000 page report detailing extensive allegations of blood doping and other performance-enhancing drug use, disqualifying him from all of his wins.
Now in an upcoming Oprah interview, Lance is rumored to have finally admitted years of performance-enhancing drug use, including blood doping. Blood doping involves the injection of erythropoietin, a hormone which controls red blood cell production, to enhance the body’s oxygen delivery system (such as heart stroke volume, vascularization, and lung function).
Armstrong isn’t the first athlete to get caught up in EPO allegations. Here’s a partial timeline of other doping scandals:
July 1984: Athletes and coaches are aware of the use of EPO to enhance performance, but this particular method of doping is not otherwise well known. A scandal that mars the achievements of seven members of the U.S. Olympic cycling team emerges when Irving Dardik, director of a Olympic Committee investigative panel, reveals that these athletes had received blood transfusions including their own naturally occurring EPO during the Los Angeles games.
2003: Boxer Shane Mosley uses EPO before his championship boxing match with Oscar De La Hoya, a fact he admits in a later interview. Mosley alleges that BALCO founder Victor Conte misled him into taking the drug by misinforming him about what he was actually taking.
2004: American cyclist Tyler Hamilton is accused of winning his gold medal won at the 2004 Summer Olympics via cheating. He is cleared of the accusations after the second blood sample is found to have been frozen, resulting in destruction of evidence. Hamilton is banned from racing for two years after testing positive for doping at the 2004 Vuelta a España.
October 13th, 2008: Russian professional ice hockey player Alexei Cherepanov dies suddenly while talking with a teammate on the bench during a match. Russian investigators conclude the 19-year-old was doping, and that the drug abuse weakened his cardiovascular system to the point of fatal collapse.
2009: Hamilton is banned for eight years from competitive cycling after again testing positive for drugs, though this time he is accused of using the steroid DHEA, an anti-depressant, instead of EPO.
November 2009: The International Skating Union accuses German skater and Claudia Pechstein, a five time gold medal winner, of having cheated from 2007-2009 after detecting irregular levels of reticulocytes in her blood. She was banned from skating competitively for two years.
May 20th, 2010: American cyclist Floyd Landis admits to having used EPO from 2002 through his 2006 victory in the Tour de France, accusing Armstrong and other cyclists of having used it concurrently. Landis, among other things, admits to have used EPO in the 2003 Vuelta d’España as well.
July 7th, 2010: Swedish cyclist Niklas Axelsson is revealed to have tested positive for EPO in his September 2009 sample, and in July is banned for life by the Swedish Cycling Federation.
August 6th, 2012: Italian 50km race walk champion Alex Schwazer is excluded from the London Games after testing positive for EPO. “I made a mistake, my career is finished,” Schwazer said.