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Johnson: “Every Athlete in the Seoul Olympics Took Drugs”

Johnson: “Every Athlete in the Seoul Olympics Took Drugs”

Posted July. 11, 2004 22:27,   


The 100-meter champion at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Ben Johnson, who had the gold medal and his record taken away owing to drug use, is causing a sensation with his remarks that drug cheats were prevalent among all the athletes at that time.

He appeared on a Canadian Television (CTV) documentary yesterday titled “Ben Johnson--Drugs and the Quest for Gold,” in which he argued, “Everybody in Seoul was using drugs. I got caught because my country did not really protect me.”

Johnson’s Jamaican-born coach, Charlie Francis, also said, “Steroids were everywhere at that time, and they had been taken by athletes for several decades.”

Johnson won the 100-meter final at the Seoul Olympics with the record of 9.79 seconds, but his drug use was exposed before long, and the gold medal was then given to Carl Lewis from U.S., who recorded 9.92 seconds.

Johnson has always denied using stanozalol, the drug that cost him his gold medal, although he has admitted years of steroid use.

The documentary, which was narrated by Hollywood star Kiefer Sutherland, is expected to cause repercussions because he insists that Johnson was a single victim, saying, “The athletes from Eastern Europe were not stripped of their medals and records even though drug cheats have prevailed among them for several decades,” while Johnson is sitting in the Olympic Stadium of Chamshil alone on the screen.

Johnson is working as a personal trainer with European footballers, including the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, who is playing on the Italian pro team Perugia.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com