Ben Johnson (athlete)

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Ben Johnson at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Benjamin Sinclair "Ben" Johnson (born December 30, 1961) was a Canadian athlete, best known for his disqualification for doping use after winning the Olympic 100m final in 1988.

Born in Falmouth, Jamaica, Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976. He made his debut at a major international tournament at the 100 m at the 1983 World Championships, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals.

The following year, Ben Johnson reached the final of the 100m at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, finishing third behind Carl Lewis. With the Canadian 4 x 100 m relay team, he won a second bronze medal.

Olympic scandal

At the 1987 World Championships, in Rome, Johnson gained instant world fame when he beat Lewis for the title, setting a new World Record of 9.83 seconds as well. Johnson and Lewis were also the favourites for the 1988 Olympic title. In the final, Johnson beat Lewis, clocking a new World Record of 9.79 seconds. A few days later, however, Johnson's urine samples were found to contain steroids (namely Stanozolol), and he was disqualified for doping.

He later admitted having used steroids when he ran his 1987 World Record, which caused the IAAF to delete that record from the books as well. But Johnson and hundreds of other athletes have long complained that they used doping in order to remain on an equal footing with the other top athletes on drugs they had to compete against.

His claim bears some weight in light of the revelations since 1988. Including Johnson, four of the top five finishers of the 100-meter race have all tested positive for banned drugs at one point or another. They are Carl Lewis, who was given the gold medal, along with Linford Christie who was moved up to the silver medal, and Dennis Mitchell. Of these, only Johnson was forced to give up his records and his medals, although he was the only one of the four who tested positive or admitted using drugs during a medal-winning performance. Later, Christie was caught using steroids and banned. According to documents released in 2003 by a former senior US anti-doping official, Dr. Wade Exum, Carl Lewis and two of his training partners all took the same three types of banned stimulants (ones found in over-the-counter cold medicine), and were caught at the 1988 US Olympic Trials, which is the competition used to select the US athletes that will compete in the Olympics.

Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, a vocal critic of the IOC testing procedures, is the author of 'Speed Trap', which features Johnson heavily. In the book he freely admits that his athletes were taking anabolic steroids, as all top athletes are, but also shows why Ben Johnson could not possibly have tested positive for that particular steroid, namely Stanozol.

In 1991, after Johnson's suspension he attempted a comeback, but without much success. In 1993, he was found guilty of doping at a race in Montreal, and was subsequently banned from the sport for life by the IAAF.

His disqualified World Record 100m time of 9.79 seconds was not surpassed until 14 September 2002, by Tim Montgomery

Johnson / Gadhafi connection

In 1999 Johnson made headlines again when it was revealed that he had been hired by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi to act as a soccer coach for his son, Al-Saadi Qadhafi, who aspired to join an Italian soccer club. Johnson's publicist in Canada predicted in The Globe and Mail that this would earn Johnson a Nobel Peace Johnson es:Ben Johnson it:Ben Johnson ja:ベン・ジョンソン (陸上選手)


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