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Who Was the First Olympian to Be Banned for Drug Abuse?

Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall was banned from the 1968 Olympics for drug abuse after drinking, by his account, two beers, before pistol shooting. The 1968 Olympic games held in Mexico City were the first time that athletes were tested for banned substances.

Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall was a Swedish athlete competing in pistol shooting during the 1968 games. He tested positive for large amounts of alcohol and was subsequently disqualified. He not only had to return his bronze metal to the officials, but so did the rest of his team members.

Interestingly, some believe that other athletes also tested positive for drugs, such as tranquilizers, during the 1968 games. However, the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances did not include all these substances at the time. Some argue that Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall was just an unlucky athlete who got caught. He did, however, go down in history as the first Olympic athlete to be banned from the games for drug abuse.

More about Olympic athletes and banned substances:

  • Mary Decker Slaney, an Olympic athlete with world records in running, was banned in 1997 for using testosterone.

  • East German Kornelia Ender, an Olympic medal winner in swimming in the 70s, confessed to having used steroids since she was 13.

  • Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain, an Olympic gold medal winner in running, tested positive for the performance enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO) in 2008.

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