The Largest Doping Sports Scandals in the World

Performance-enhancing drugs in the world of sports is an ever-growing threat that the government can’t always control. While most athletes spend hours in the gym to maintain their health and eat correctly to push their bodies to the limit, others are using doping or outlawed drugs to get ahead of the game. The use of illegal drugs in sport is not only abusive for the user but also against the spirit of the competition. Let’s take a look at some of the largest doping sports scandals in the world, including state-run doping programs, corporations, sports leagues, countries, and individual athletes.


Doping in Russia is systematic and widespread with the government being accused of helping athletes to commit this horrible offence. Russia has been stripped of more than 50 Olympic medals due to doping. More than 1,000 different Russian athletes have managed to benefit from doping between 2011 until 2015. The country has been accused of sponsoring doping while the country’s agencies undermined the doping tests. Due to Russia’s failure to comply with the policies of doping on an international level, the country was banned from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.


During the 1980s and 1990s, the government of China sanctioned a doping program. The program focused on athletic swimmers and allowed them to gain considerable improvements in a short space of time. During 1992, the number of swimmers from China in the world rankings increased from around 30 to close to 100. During the World Aquatic Championship in 1994, China managed to win 12 from 16 gold medals and set several new records. Between 1990 and 1998, more than 50% of Chinese swimmers tested positive for doping.

The BALCO Scandal

This scandal mainly involved doping among professional athletes. BALCO was a San Francisco based organization that supplied athletes on a professional level with anabolic steroids. The substances were sold and made by the laboratory to managed to go undetected when drug testing was performed. It was sold between 1988 and 2002 by Conte, Arnold, and Anderson. In 2002, an official investigation began into BALCO. Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, and Jason Giambi were named as part of the scandal.

The Mitchell Report

This was a report that was introduced by George J Mitchell, who was a Senator in Maine on the use of human growth hormones and steroids in Major League Baseball. It took the Senator more than 20 months to successfully prepare and investigate the 400-page report that was eventually released on 13 December 2007. This enormous report highlighted the history of the banned substances and how to prevent it from going forward.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was a remarkable racing cyclist that participated in competitions since the age of 16. He managed to win the Tour de France 7 successive times between 1999 and 2005. However, since 1999, he was accused of doping but never confessed to it. In 2013, he finally admitted that he was taking PED and was stripped of all titles.