I'm not sure that's true at all, my friend.
Originally Posted by bjg
When Carl Lewis protested Ben Johnson beating him in track events, it probably wasn't because he was concerned about Johnson's health.
Ben Johnson Biography
Born in Falmouth, Jamaica, Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976, residing in Scarborough, Ontario.
Johnson met coach Charlie Francis and joined the Scarborough Optimists track and field club, training at York University. Francis was a Canadian 100 metres sprint champion himself (1970, 1971 and 1973) and a member of the Canadian team for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Francis was also Canada's national sprint coach for nine years.
Johnson's first international success came when he won two silver medals at the 1982 Commonwealth Games inBrisbane, Australia. He finished behind Allan Wells of Scotland in the 100 m with a time of 10.05 seconds and was a member of the Canadian 4x100 m relay team. This success was not repeated at the 1983 World Championshipsin Helsinki, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals, finishing 6th with a time of 10.44.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he reached the 100 m final; after false starting, he won the bronze medal behind Lewis and Sam Graddy with a time of 10.22. He also won a bronze medal with the Canadian4x100 m relay team of Johnson, Tony Sharpe, Desai Williams and Sterling Hinds, who ran a time of 38.70. By the end of the 1984 season, Johnson had established himself as Canada's top sprinter, and on August 22 in Zurich,Switzerland, he bettered Williams' Canadian record of 10.17 by running 10.12.
In 1985, after seven consecutive losses, Johnson finally beat Carl Lewis. Other success against Lewis included the 1986 Goodwill Games, where Johnson beat Lewis, running 9.95 for first place, against Lewis' third-place time of 10.06. He broke Houston McTear's seven-year old world record in the 60 metres in 1986, with a time of 6.50 seconds. He also won Commonwealth gold at the 1986 games in Edinburgh, beating Linford Christie for the 100 m title with a time of 10.07. Johnson also led the Canadian 4x100 m relay team to gold, and won a bronze in the 200 m.
On April 29, 1987, Johnson was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada. "World record holder for the indoor 60-meter run, this Ontarian has proved himself to be the world's fastest human being and has broken Canadian, Commonwealth and World Cup 100-meter records," it read. "Recipient of the Norton Crowe Award for Male Athlete of the Year for 1985, 'Big Ben' was the winner of the 1986 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete."
By the time of the 1987 World Championships, Johnson had won his four previous races with Lewis and had established himself as the best 100 m sprinter. At Rome, Johnson gained instant world fame and confirmed this status when he beat Lewis for the title, setting a new world record of 9.83 seconds as well, beating Calvin Smith's former record by a full tenth of a second.
After Rome, Johnson became a lucrative marketing celebrity. According to coach Charlie Francis, after breaking the world record, Johnson earned about $480,000 a month in endorsements. Johnson won both the Lou Marsh Trophy and Lionel Conacher Award, and was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year for 1987.
Following Johnson's defeat of Lewis in Rome, Lewis started trying to explain away his defeat. He first claimed that Johnson had false-started, then he alluded to a stomach virus which had weakened him. Finally, without naming names, Lewis said "There are a lot of people coming out of nowhere. I don’t think they are doing it without drugs." This was the start of Lewis’ calling on the sport of track and field to be cleaned up in terms of the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. While cynics noted that the problem had been in the sport for many years, they pointed out that it didn’t become a cause for Lewis until he was actually defeated, with some also pointing to Lewis's egotistical attitude and lack of humility. During a controversial interview with the BBC, Lewis said:
Johnson's response was:
There are gold medallists at this meet who are on drugs, that [100 metres] race will be looked at for many years, for more reasons than one.
This set up the rivalry leading into the 1988 Olympic Games.
When Carl Lewis was winning everything, I never said a word against him. And when the next guy comes along and beats me, I won’t complain about that either.
In 1988, Johnson experienced a number of setbacks to his running career. In February of that year he pulled a hamstring, and in May he aggravated the same injury. Meanwhile in Paris in June, Lewis ran a 9.99. Then in Zurich, Switzerland on August 17, the two faced each other for the first time since the 1987 World Championships, Lewis won in 9.93, while Johnson finished third in 10.00. "The gold medal for the (Olympic) 100 meters is mine," Carl Lewis said. "I will never again lose to Johnson."
On September 24, Johnson beat Lewis in the 100m final at the Olympics, lowering his own world record to 9.79 seconds. Johnson would later remark that he would have been even faster had he not raised his hand in the air just before he finished the race. However, Johnson's urine samples were found to contain stanozolol, and he was disqualified three days later. He later admitted having used steroids when he ran his 1987 world record, which caused the IAAF to rescind that record as well. Johnson and coach Francis 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. In testimony before the Dubin inquiry into drug use, Francis charged that Johnson was only one of many cheaters; and he just happened to get caught. In hindsight, five of the finalists of the 100-meter race tested positive for banned drugs or were implicated in a drug scandal at some point in their careers: Carl Lewis, who was given the gold medal, Linford Christie who was moved up to the silver medal, Dennis Mitchell, and Desai Williams.
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 he claims all top athletes at the time were, and also claims that Johnson could not possibly have tested positive for that particular steroid since Johnson actually preferred furazabol. He thought stanozolol made his body "feel tight".
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