The mystery man is back. You must remember him: it was he who spiked Ben Johnson's beer with steroids in the drug testing room after the 100-metres final at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, robbing Johnson of the gold medal which he hopes he might now get back.
Or so Johnson believes.
The 'truth' is all in the disgraced sprinter's forthcoming book. Along with the even more curious tale of how the most infamous drug-cheat in Olympic history was an Egyptian pharaoh in a previous incarnation.
The surprising information comes from Johnson's “spiritual adviser” Bryan Farnum. They wrote the book together.
Trouble is, the story of the supposed steroid saboteur that Johnson is selling isn't at all new.
Johnson's entourage trotted out that excuse back in Seoul in 1988, when Johnson's positive test for the banned steroid, stanozolol, stunned the world.
His agent at the time, Larry Heidebrecht, spoke of a mysterious stranger who gave Johnson a mysterious drink with a bad-smelling “yellow gooey substance” at the bottom. Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, told a Canadian judicial inquiry about a tall and dark-skinned American who sat next to Johnson in the doping control room at Seoul's Jamsil Olympic Stadium.
“The drink was on the floor and this guy was beside the drink,” Francis testified back in 1989. “Ben said: 'I knew there was something wrong with that guy ... He had no purpose to be there'.” Ah, yes, says Johnson, but the difference now is that he has a “confession”.
“The person that done it,” Johnson says in a subsequent phone interview with him and Farnum together.
“I can't say too much right now,” he says.
Pressed for details, he suggests that the saboteur was paid off by “sponsors” whom Johnson won't name, at least not yet.
“All detailed in the book,” Johnson adds.
Anyway, Johnson has his version of events and he's sticking with it. He even believes that his “new revelation” might force the International Olympic Committee and track and field's governing body, the IAAF, to re-examine his case, perhaps even return the gold medal.
What about his reincarnations?
Using his “very strong spiritual gift”, Farnum says he discerned that Johnson has had “many” previous lives. Who was he previously?
Farnum at first laughed, then said, “Well, you know what? I'm going to tell you who he was. We can break this news, it doesn't matter. It's just going to help the book. He was Khufu, going back to Egypt ... He was a pharaoh.”
“Look him up,” he added. “There was a story about Khufu, about his drink, his beer, being poisoned.”
Curiouser and curiouser!