Doping for Gold

In the 1970s, female East German athletes came from nowhere to dominate international sport. But behind their success lay a horrifying secret.

Doping for gold 01
Secrets of the Dead
Premiere Date
May 7, 2008
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2009 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Science, Technology and Nature Programming Emmy
  • Producer/Director

    Alison Rooper

    With over 25 years in the industry, Alison Rooper is an award-winning producer/director and executive producer working across factual programming of all genres. At Granada Television she worked with documentary producer Roger Graef and on the historical documentaries of Brian Lapping. After joining the BBC as producer/director, she went on to edit and series produce some of the corporation’s flagship programs in science, documentary, and current affairs. She has been responsible for a number of international co-productions both within the BBC and as an independent producer through In Focus Productions. Recent films include the Emmy nominated Doping for Gold, shown on PBS’s Secrets of the Dead in 2008 and on Five as Revealed:The Great Olympic Drug Scandal. Also Cell: The Chemistry of Life premiered on BBC4 in August 2009.

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    The Film

    In Cold War-era East Germany, young female athletes were injected with male hormones and anabolic steroids — all in the name of “international prestige through success in sports.” Twenty years later, many still suffer from the aftereffects —severe physical illness and disabilities. Through personal stories, Doping for Gold unveils the price these women paid to bring Olympic pride to their country.