The former Soviet Union began participating in international sport after World War II and soon achieved a dominant position in the Olympic Games and other competitions. The success of Soviet athletic programs led to charges of unfair practices but, because of secrecy surrounding Soviet research in exercise biochemistry, it has been difficult to substantiate these charges. This article presents previously restricted information regarding the development and use of creatine supplements and blood doping in the USSR. Early work by Olexander Palladin established the role of creatine in muscle function. In the 1970s, Soviet scientists showed that oral creatine supplements improved athletic performance in short, intense activities such as sprints. Subsequent studies in the West substantiated these investigations and have led to the widespread acceptance and use of creatine supplements to enhance muscle function and athletic performance. In addition, however, the Soviet government supported the development of blood doping, which is banned by the International Olympic Committee. Blood doping was pervasive in the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s, and was used by many Soviet athletes in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. Open publication and discussion may help to prevent the abuses that can come from secret scientific research.


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pp. 445-451
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