Interesting Artice in Ny Times

Perhaps I should have posted this in the Steroid section.

Ex - E. German Athletes Angry Over Doping

BERLIN (AP) – When Andreas Krieger won the European shot put title in 1986 he was named Heidi. He says he needed a sex-change operation because of all the hormones he was fed while training. The pride he once had in his gold medal has vanished.
I thought I won it because of all the hard work I put in,'' Krieger said. Now it doesn’t mean much of anything.‘’
Krieger was one of 197 people – far fewer than expected – who filed claims before Monday’s deadline to get the government to pay some of their medical bills.
Krieger also is among the former East German athletes who are angry after learning just what sort of pills they had been given by coaches and officials.
Many of these athletes, who helped turn East Germany into a sports power in the 1970s and ‘80s, have trouble confronting the fact that they were drugged against their will.
Many remain silent out of shame,'' said Birgit Boese, who runs a center called Doping-Victim-Help. You have to overcome inhibitions and admit to yourself what happened. Others don’t want to risk their careers.’’
Government officials have refused to extend the deadline. Each athlete will get less than $10,000.
Biologist Werner Franke, a major figure in the fight to help the athletes, says many of them have not been given full access to their records.
The government estimates about 1,000 of the 10,000 East German athletes who were given drugs face serious health problems. At least 500 were expected to file claims when the $2.18 million fund was set up last year.
The athletes have encountered more than just shame or bewilderment as they grapple with twisted spines, failing livers, gynecological problems, birth defects in their children, miscarriages, breasts in men and numb limbs.
They also can’t find doctors willing to confirm that their ailments stem from the pills they received 15 or 20 years ago.
Many doctors feel uncertain, they say they can't make their findings with absolute certainty -- everything is stuck,'' said Klaus Zollig, chairman of the compensation fund. The doctors lack expertise in the damage banned substances can cause or they're hindered by missing documents. Many athletes' records vanished in 1989 when East Germany collapsed and last year when heavy floods struck the country. In 1974, the East German government developed State Plan 14.25,‘’ in which promising athletes would systematically receive drugs, even as children. Two years later, East Germany beat the powerful American women in swimming by sweeping 11 of 13 gold medals at the Montreal Olympics.
East German scientists had discovered oral turinabol, a powerful undetectable steroid. Boese, a junior national champion in the shot put, said the pale blue'' pill was on her tablet every day. I can remember getting 10 pills at a time, 30 a day,‘’ recalls Carola Nitschke, who broke the world breast stroke record at 14.
Weightlifter Gerd Bonk is struggling to find a doctor who will testify that his once powerful body is wasting away because of the drugs he took.
In 1976, the super heavyweight broke the world record for the clean and jerk, hoisting 557 pounds. A few months later, he captured the Olympic silver medal.
Now Bonk has diabetes, a failing liver and his feet are numb, among a host of signs of a failing body.
Many of the athletes are human ticking time bombs,'' Boese said. Boese said her anger made her stay on the job in a tiny office at Berlin's historic Olympic Stadium. Since October, she has counseled 450 former athletes. I wanted to quit, but I couldn’t let sport win again,‘’ Boese said. It would have been like when they fed me the pills all over again.'' Some are angry and some cry,‘’ she added, referring to her fellow victims. ``Their reactions are all different, as different as we human beings are.‘’