Christian Schenk, the Decathlon gold medalist representing East Germany at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, has admitted using anabolic steroids beginning from the time he was 20 years old in 1985. Schenk made the confession in his new autobiography titled “Rip: My Life Between Heaven and Hell”.
Schenk identified the anabolic steroid as Oral Turinabol. Oral Turinabol was the brand name of a steroid product containing dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DCMT). Oral Turinabol was manufactured by the German pharmaceutical company Jenapharm at the direction of the East German government for the explicit purpose of doping in sports.
The Bild-Zeitung, a German tabloid newspaper published by Axel Springer AG, published excerpts from Schenk’s new autobiography on August 28, 2018. Schenk said he was given pills purported to be vitamins and minerals by his coaches. He was initially unaware that they were actually steroids. But he quickly realized what they were after experiencing the amazing performance-enhancing effects of the drugs. Schenk continued to use the steroids because he wanted to.
“I was doping, and I knew that I doped,” Schenk wrote. “At first I denied having ever taken any banned substance, and then I settled for the somewhat softer legal answer that I never knowingly doped, both of which were a lie.
“For me that was like reaching the next level, almost a tribute. Getting the pills meant I was on the squad and expected to perform well.”
Schenk’s admission 30 years after the fact isn’t exactly news. For decades, the international community has been well aware of the state-sponsored doping program carried out by the East German government in the 1970s and 1980s.
Schenk’s name was discovered on a list of East German athletes who were using Oral Turinabol that was seized after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. All East German athletes who competed in the 1970s and 1980s have been under a cloud of doping suspicion ever since then.
Schenk will keep his 1988 Olympic decathlon gold medal because the IOC’s statute of limitations for investigating doping cases has expired. Schenk’s admission was nonetheless welcomed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We welcome the admission and hope it will help clarify the situation and strengthen the fight against doping,” said an IOC spokesperson. “At the same time, we hope that Schenk’s findings contribute to his own ‘well-being’ and wish him all the best to cope with his health problems.”
Schenk’s autobiography also delves into some other difficult times during Schenk’s life. In particular, Schenk’s chronicles his bouts with severe clinic depression. At times, Schenk considered committing suicide. However, Schenk acknowledged that he had no idea if anabolic steroids had any impact on his mental illness later in his life.
Pavitt, M. (September 1, 2018). Seoul 1988 Olympic champion Schenk admits doping in book but will keep gold. Retrieved from insidethegames.biz/articles/1069473/seoul-1988-olympic-champion-schenk-admits-doping-in-book-and-will-keep-gold