Trainer Oluf Jorgensen has now admitted that he gave a drug to four Danish cyclists before the Olympic 100-kilometer road race two weeks ago. Three of the four Danes collapsed during the race, and one later died. In itself, Jorgensen's admission is no surprise. Among European professional bike racers the use of drugs is common. The puzzling thing is that the drug the Danes received was Roniacol—which is not a so-called pep pill. On the contrary, in fact.
"Roniacol," says one New York doctor, "is a form of nicotinic acid, which is one of the vitamin-B complex. It is used to increase circulation in the limbs. Roniacol, similar in effect but milder than nicotinic acid, is used for the same purpose-to dilate the blood vessels. Blood pressure is lowered because more of the blood is put in use. Thus, the output of blood from the heart is increased, and the heart is forced to work harder to circulate the blood."
This is the same effect that exercise alone has on the blood vessels in the muscles. "It is entirely conceivable," the doctor adds, "that the blood-vessel-dilating effect of the drug, combined with the blood-vessel-dilating effect of the exercise, caused the Danish cyclists to go into shock—a state which can result in death."
The various pep pills, on the other hand, have their most direct effect on the brain, causing a sense of increased energy and physical capability. They also have a tendency to constrict the blood vessels. In any event, if amateur athletes are to be given drugs medical professionals—clearly—should prescribe them.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Texas rumors say Oriole Manager Paul Richards wants to manage the hoped-for major league team in the Dallas- Fort Worth area. Not so, says Richards, who is justifiably happy where he is and who is in an income tax bracket where a big raise in salary might hurt more than it helps....
St. Louis heavyweight Sonny Liston, who fights Eddie Machen in Seattle September 7, has been subpoenaed by Senator Estes Kefauver to tell whether or not he is managed by "underworld figures." The answer probably is "yes," but—like many fighters before him—Sonny may be the last man to know....
On the radio in Dallas these days a young lady frequently says: "I am Jane Murchison, and I am a fan of the Dallas Texans." The young lady is an employee of Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL pro football team. She is out to sell tickets and knock the NFL Dallas Cowboys, largely owned by Clint Murchison Jr., who happens to have a daughter Jane (no kin and no coincidence)....
Overheard in a mildly sporty bar on Sunday: She: "What happened in the Olympics today?" He: "Nothing happens on Sunday." She: "It's a good thing—we'd have finished second in church."
OVER THE IRISH SEA—THE HARD WAY
Florence Chadwick, 41, trim and attractive as ever as she relaxes here after a workout, will wade into the icy, white-capped waters of the Irish Sea in a few days and will attempt a 30-mile crossing no woman has ever accomplished. The stretch Miss Chadwick chose to tackle, from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland, has been conquered only once—in 15 hours, 25 minutes by an Englishman in 1947. Ten years ago Miss Chadwick broke (by one hour 11 minutes) Gertrude Ederle's English Channel mark from France to England, which had stood for 24 years, and subsequently she established an oceanful of world swimming records. Now she thinks she can better the Irish channel mark, and so does SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which will sponsor her attempt.