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Visualizing 50 Years of Doping Scandals at the Winter Olympics



Doping Scandals at the Winter Olympics

Doping Scandals at the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics has had its fair share of scandals, from individual Olympians being barred from competition to elaborate state-run doping conspiracies.

Since drug testing began at the Olympics in 1968, there have been 89 positive doping cases at the Winter Olympics.

With the help of data collected and presented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and, the above infographic created by Athul Alexander looks at all the doping scandals at the Winter Olympics from the past 50 years.

How it Began: A History of Doping at the Games

The first doping case at the Winter Olympics was noted at the 1972 Sapporo Games, when West German ice hockey player Alois Schloder tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine. He was eventually cleared of all his charges, and his suspension was lifted.

YearOlympic Games# of Positive Doping Cases# of Medals Lost
1980Lake Placid00
2002Salt Lake City109

Doping scandals have accelerated in the modern era, with only six positive cases occurring in the first 30 years of the Winter Olympics.

Heightened drug testing, beginning with the 2002 Winter Olympics, has since seen the number of positive cases rise dramatically.

Notable Games Marred by Doping Scandals

Many of the Olympic Winter Games have been engulfed in doping scandals, including:

Nagano, 1998

The first-ever gold medal in Olympic snowboarding went to Canadian Ross Rebagliati. He was stripped of his medal after failing a marijuana drug test, which at the time was a banned substance. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport later overruled this decision.

This was the first case of athletes being stripped of medals due to their use of cannabis, which has since gone through a swath of legalization and has been taken off the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Salt Lake City, 2002

As many as 100 drugs tests showed traces of the banned performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO). This was the first instance where all endurance athletes were tested for EPO during the games.

Skiing was hit the hardest with nine of the 10 positive doping cases coming from the sport.

To make matters worse, cross-country skier Johann Mühlegg, who had just won three gold medals at the games, tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance, darbepoetin. He was eventually stripped of all his medals from the games.

Turin, 2006

Six Austrian athletes were banned for life from the Olympics for their involvement in a doping scandal at the games. This was the first time the IOC punished athletes without a positive or missed doping test.

The Austrians were found guilty of possessing doping substances and taking part in a doping conspiracy. The Italian police found materials during a raid on the athletes’ living quarters. The Austrians also had their competition results annulled.

Sochi, 2014

Dozens of Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, including at least 15 medal winners, were part of a state-run doping program, meticulously planned for years to ensure dominance at the games.

The most notable involvement in the scandal came from 14 members of Russia’s cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders, who won two golds. The IOC later banned 11 Russian athletes for life for their involvement.

Sochi had the most doping cases in the Winter Olympics history, with 55 total cases and 21 medals stripped from various athletes.

Pyeongchang, 2018

The entire Russian contingent was banned from participating due to their involvement in the state-run doping scandal at the Sochi games. Some Russian athletes, who were deemed clean, were still allowed to participate under the banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

This unprecedented ban still had critics crying foul, saying the punishment wasn’t strict enough. They didn’t believe the ban would deter officials and athletes from performing the same tactics in the future.

Despite the strict scrutiny on the Olympic Athletes from Russia, two athletes were still caught using performing-enhancing drugs. This included curler Alexander Krushelnitskiy, who lost his bronze medal in the process.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Ranked: The World’s Largest Stadiums

The U.S. is known for its massive arenas, but in a top 10 ranking of the world’s largest stadiums, two other countries take the lead.



Ranking The World’s Largest Stadiums

From football games to live concerts, stadiums serve as a gathering place for some of life’s most exciting moments.

While some stadiums are famous for their history, others are truly massive in size, capable of seating over 100,000 people at once. In this graphic, we’ve ranked the 10 largest stadiums in the world by seating capacity, with Madison Square Garden included as a reference point.

Data and Highlights

As shown in the graphic above, the world’s largest stadium belongs to India. Named after the country’s Prime Minister, the Narendra Modi Stadium was designed to host cricket games.

See below for the full list in tabular format.

1Narendra Modi Stadium🇮🇳 IndiaAhmedabad132,000
2Rungrado 1st of May Stadium🇰🇵 North KoreaPyongyang114,000
3Michigan Stadium🇺🇸 USAnn Arbor, MI107,601
4Beaver Stadium🇺🇸 USState College, PA106,572
5Ohio Stadium🇺🇸 USColumbus, OH102,780
6Kyle Field🇺🇸 USCollege Station, TX102,733
7Neyland Stadium🇺🇸 USKnoxville, TN102,455
8Tiger Stadium🇺🇸 USBaton Rouge, LA102,321
9Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium🇺🇸 USAustin, TX100,119
10Bryant-Denny Stadium🇺🇸 USTuscaloosa, AL100,077

The number two spot is held by Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, which is surprisingly located in North Korea. It was completed in 1989 with the purpose of hosting the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, and is now used to host various government events.

It’s interesting to note that this arena initially had a higher capacity of 150,000 people, but was reduced to 114,000 after renovations in 2014.

Looking further down the list, the third to tenth largest stadiums belong to the United States. All of these arenas are primarily used for college football, serving as the home field for their respective university team.

A shocking fact is that these arenas are significantly larger than NFL stadiums. For example, the largest NFL stadium is MetLife Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 82,500.

The Runner-Ups

While just three countries are represented in the top 10 list, there is plenty of geographical diversity once we look a little further down. Shown below are the 11th to 14th largest stadiums in the world.

largest stadiums 11 to 14

Camp Nou and FNB Stadium are two historic soccer stadiums which have both hosted a FIFA World Cup tournament. Camp Nou is owned by FC Barcelona, the world’s third most valuable soccer club.

New Administrative Capital Stadium is expected to replace the Cairo International Stadium as Egypt’s new national arena, and could be used to host the Olympics or a FIFA World Cup in the future if called upon.

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