Anti-doping expert Franke turns 70
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Anti-doping expert Franke turns 70

by Bjorn Haake at 4:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Doping, General

Anti-doping expert Werner Franke celebrates his 70th birthday today. Some athletes may hope the German will retire soon, but this seems a remote possibility as long as Franke is as healthy as he is - he still works daily, including weekends.

It is justice in sports that drives Franke to continue to point out irregularities. "I am healthy enough to continue my research and to engage myself against doping," , he said in an interview with "I kept a belief of justice," without which he would have already given up.

Franke's move against dopers started in the 90's, when he pointed out the systematic doping in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), after the East German wall had fallen. He named names and wrote a book, titled "Doping documents - from research to cheating." This led to a dozen law suits against him - which he all won. "I have been sued over 20 times," Franke said.

The most famous accuser is Jan Ullrich, who won an interim injunction to prevent Franke from saying that Ullrich spent money for illegal substances in the Operación Puerto. The two are still at it, with the next round playing out at a court in Hamburg.

But Franke insists that he is not an investigator or provocative. "I am clearly a scout for the public and an enemy of abusers." He and wife Brigitte Berendonk were honored in 2004 with the German Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) for their "long battle against doping in competitive sports in both parts of Germany."

Franke was going to retire in the anti-doping fight in 2005, but the Balco-Scandal in the USA and the Eufemiano Fuentes affair - the Spanish doctor who treated soccer players, runners, tennis players, cyclists and others with illegal blood transfusions, kept Franke in.

But Franke came to fame not through sports at all. He was and is a very good scientist at the cancer research center in Heidelberg, Germany. He had over 650 articles published in relevant magazines and builds his success on a strong memory, expert knowledge and a strong sense of justice. "Doping for me is a crime, because it is assault or aiding in assault."


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