Dutch 1984 Olympic discus gold medallist Ria Stalman admitted to taking anabolic steroids to enhance her performance, 31 years after triumphing at the Los Angeles Games.
“During the final two years of my career, I daily used a light dosage of anabolic steroids,” Stalman said in an interview with the Dutch NOS public newscaster yesterday.
Stalman, 32 at the time, told the Friday night television programme “Andere Tijden Sport” (Earlier Times in Sport) that her decision to take part in doping was sparked after a pre-Olympic visit to the former East Germany.
She said she saw signs there that many women were using steroids.
“I wanted to beat them badly,” said Stalman, now 64.
“I then thought: the only way was that if you can’t beat them, join them,” she said, adding she used doping during heavy bouts of training to help her recover faster.
Ironically, the 1984 Olympic Games saw a Soviet Union-led boycott by former Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, as well as Cuba—payback for the West’s snub of the 1980 Moscow Games.
It was not clear why Stalman, who was named the Netherlands’ 1984 Sportswoman of the Year after the Games, decided to come clean more than three decades later.
She did tell the NOS the admission “gave her some relief” and that she hoped it would finally draw the curtain on the issue.
“Maybe now the nagging can stop. There, I admitted it, the cat’s out of the bag. Get off my back,” she told the NOS.
Dutch media reported that Stalman would not have to hand back her gold medal as a decade-long statute of limitations for anti-doping rule violations had long since lapsed.
Apart from Stalman’s medal, the Netherlands won four other golds including two for swimming, two silvers and six bronzes in the Games dominated by the United States with 83 golds, followed by Romania with 20.