Welcome to Costas’ People new Tuesday feature: a run down of headshake inducing former Olympic hopefuls. Today: five athletes who tried to sully the games through illegal ingestion.
Athens, 1896: Luka Hoivanen, Finnish Cyclist, was the first person caught blood doping after his plan to eat leeches used by a particularly lusty Greek prostitute in order to bolster his own lustiness ended with both of them dying of Hepatitis.
St. Louis, 1904: Chance Willhelmsen, American Tug of Warrior, swallowed a 50 foot, inch thick rope the night before the competition hoping that by passing it partially through his system he would be able to utilize the grip of his intestines to gain an edge in the Olympic Tug of War. However, Olympic Tug of War uses a 2 inch thick rope and he was banned from the games for life.
Paris, 1924: Juan Pelota Guzman, Spanish Polo Rider, had a plan to become much closer with his horse El Pistolero by ingesting a quart of its blood on the eve of the Olympics. Tragically both horse and rider wound up dying of Hepatitis.
Tokyo, 1964: Hideki Akatsuka, Japanese Pole Vaulter, promised that if fiberglass poles were allowed at the his hometown Tokyo Olympics he would eat his wooden pole. They were allowed, and he did eat his previous pole. While not explicitly illegal, the splinters in his body caused massive internal bleeding which caused his blood test to register higher than normal iron levels, thus getting him banned from the games.
Moscow, 1980: Literally every competitor at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games was doping. All of them. In addition, the East German Men’s 4x100 relay team all died of Hepatitis.