Thomas Hicks Caught Doping

by sahil


Thomas Hicks, a brass worker from Cambridge, Massachusetts, was born in England. He was the winner of a remarkable marathon race at the 1904 Summer Olympics, held as part of the World Fair inSt. Louis, Missouri.

Conditions were bad, the course being a dirt track, with large clouds of dust produced by the accompanying vehicles. Hicks was not the first to cross the finish line, trailing Fred Lorz. However, Lorz had abandoned the race after 9 miles. After covering most of the course by car, he re-entered the race 5 miles before the finish. This was found out by the officials, who disqualified Lorz, who claimed it had been a joke.

Had the race been run under current rules, Hicks would also have been disqualified: his assistants had given him a dose of 1/60 of a grain (roughly 1 mg) of strychnine and some brandy because he was flagging badly during the race; the first dose of strychnine did not revive him for long, so he was given another. As a result, he collapsed after crossing the finishing line. Another dose might have been fatal. Strychnine is now forbidden for athletes.

Hicks finished second in the 1904 Boston Marathon, but dropped out during the following year's race. On June 30, 1906, he finished three minutes ahead of Alexander Thibeau to win a marathon at an Amateur Athletic Union meet in Chicago (3:02).

The punhisment given to Hicks was not allowed to race for ever but after one year the ban was lifted.

Doping History

The wordThe word doping is probably derived from the Dutch word dop, the name of an alcoholic beverage made of grape skins used by Zulu warriors in order to enhance their prowess in battle. Ancient Greek athletes are known to have used special diets and stimulating potions to fortify themselves. Strychnine, caffeine, cocaine, and alcohol were often used by cyclists and other endurance athletes in the 19th century. Thomas Hicks ran to victory in the marathon at the 1904 Olympic Games, in Saint Louis, with the help of raw egg, injections of strychnine and doses of brandy administered to him during the race.