Status: 11/15/2022 6:24 p.m

    Werner Franke, renowned doping researcher and investigator of sports fraud, has died at the age of 82.

    As Franke’s son Ulrich confirmed to the German Press Agency on Tuesday (November 15, 2022), the anti-doping pioneer died on Monday evening at the age of 82 from a brain hemorrhage.

    Sports Fraud Detectives: “I am driven

    The cell biologist from Heidelberg was an uncompromising investigator of sports fraud in the former GDR and – after the fall of the Wall – in reunified Germany. Franke made a significant contribution to uncovering state doping in the GDR; he was one of the co-founders of the Doping Victims Assistance (DOH) association. In 2014 he received the Heidi Krieger Medal from the DOH association for his doping awareness work.

    I am driven and always will be“, he once named the reason for his inexorable desire for enlightenment and his tireless aggressiveness. “I am clearly an educator for the public and an enemy of abusers.

    The world-renowned scientist and researcher defied dopers with great expertise for more than half his life. By the end of his life he had lost none of his go-getter mentality. “I still despise German sport“said the Paderborn native on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

    Systematic state doping in the GDR revealed

    Franke and his wife Brigitte Berendonk uncovered systematic state doping in the GDR. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he found secret documents with her in the Military Medical Academy in Bad Saarow. The resulting book, published in 1991, “Doping Documents – From Research to Fraud” caused a stir around the world.

    Also as a reaction to the book, in which many of the athletes, trainers and officials involved in GDR doping are named by name, dosage and instructions, Franke conducted around 100 lawsuits. “All were essentially won. And you could use it to make things public“, he stressed tirelessly. But it was also clear to him: “There was a system in the West too.

    Fight against doping and supporters in cycling

    So Franke denounced the doping support of cyclists by the Freiburg sports medicine and was sued by Jan Ullrich. He had claimed that the former cycling idol had paid illegal services to the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. After four years, Franke won the process.

    He continued to speak up loudly – also with criticism of long-time companions of the Doping-Victim-Help association, of which he was a co-founder. Franke accused them of driving up the number of victims and acting unscientifically. He also found doping controls rather nonsensical – or as he put it: “pill box“. Be it the World Anti-Doping Agency or the national agency, for him they were not independent enough.

    Brigitte Berendonk as a companion in the fight against doping

    The fact that the intake of drugs that were banned in the GDR and later, such as anabolic steroids, decreased in the 2000s, Franke also wrote on his own and his resistance against the scammers: “The means of harming the body have become fewer.“In this respect, doping is gentler,”so there are no bizarre beings” There is more that Brigitte Berendonk drew his attention to after she took part in the 1968 Olympic Games. After noticing the deep voices and unusual hair growth of female athletes, she asked her husband: “And what is science doing about it?

    The dopers hated him, officials had to fear him – but his profound knowledge was valued in the anti-doping scene. “I haven’t gotten any quieter. It’s no use, you have to speak proletarian directly to be heard.” That was Franke’s credo into old age. Behind the powerful rhetoric was also a brilliant mind that not many had anything to oppose. “I see through more, that’s not necessarily wiser“, Franke once summed up his long fight against doping. It has now come to an end.