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Intimidated Atheletes

Lance Pugmire
Los Angeles Times
April 1, 2003

Despite estimates that as many as 10,000 East German athletes were given steroids and other dangerous drugs by the coaches and officials who constructed the country's powerful Olympic teams of the 1970s and '80s, only 179 filed claims for medical bill assistance by Monday's deadline. "It's an outrage and it's despicable how the Germans have hurled insult on top of insult at these athletes," said Steven Ungerleider, the research psychologist who wrote "Faust's Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine." In addition to a $10,000 ceiling on claims, the panel that instituted the victims' compensation fund intimidated many of the former East German athletes by linking conditions to the claims. One, the athlete had to produce verification by an independent doctor that the drug use caused the respective condition. Two, the conditions were subject to disclosure in the media.