chapter  5
24 Pages

Training models and pharmacology in athletics, 1960–2000 1

WithChristophe Brissonneau, Montez de Oca Jeffrey

After the United States had tremendous success in athletics (‘track and field’ in North America) in the 1960s, the French state under Charles de Gaulle implemented a new sport policy to close the performance gap. The new training model was based on the scientific approach developed in East Germany (GDR). To implement the rational East German model, there were numerous training camps and conferences between trainers from both countries where they focused on developing power training for French throwers. Progressively, the other athletic disciplines (sprints, jumps, and combined events) adopted power training to increase muscle mass, strength, and the quickness of the athletes. Discussions about pharmacology between athletes and trainers increased in the National Sport Centre where athletes learned the necessity of rational training regimes that included pharmacology. In this context, athletes conceive of pharmacology as a part of their training and necessary to improve performance along with exercise physiology and biomechanics. They also learned that rational training includes a ‘good’ physician. We finish Chapter 5 by studying the doping career of a female athlete who was part of cult-like training team (a phenomenon currently on the rise in France).