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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Athletics

I was 'nailed on a cross' for 25 years, says disgraced Olympic hero Ben Johnson
AFP
Seoul, September 24, 2013
First Published: 12:24 IST(24/9/2013)
Last Updated: 18:05 IST(24/9/2013)

Disgraced drugs cheat Ben Johnson returned Tuesday to Seoul's Olympic Stadium -- 25 years to the day of the steroid-assisted 100m final victory that destroyed his career and reputation.

The Canadian sprinter revisited the site of his stunning triumph and downfall to bring an anti-doping message for a sport still struggling to rid itself of banned substance use.

"It feels good to be back," Johnson said as he stepped out onto the track where, at 1:30pm on September 24, 1988, he lined up for a 100m final that would become known as the "dirtiest race in history."

"This is where history was made," Johnson said. "Some might call it bad history, but I don't see it that way," he added.

First out of the blocks in the final, Johnson destroyed a field that included his hated rival Carl Lewis and stormed  to victory in a world record time of 9.79sec.

Three days later he was stripped of his medal, his time and ultimately his career after it was announced that he had tested positive for stanozolol, a banned anabolic steroid.

Six of the eight finalists would eventually be implicated in doping scandals, including Lewis, who it was later revealed had tested positive for stimulants at the US Olympic trials.

Ben Johnson watches a video showing his 1988 Olympic performance on a running track at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.(AFP photo)

Johnson has admitted to years of steroid use, although he still claims that he was set up in Seoul by a drink spiked with stanozolol.

His return to Seoul was the final leg of a global tour as standard bearer of the #ChooseTheRightTrack campaign, which calls for new strategies to combat continued drug use in athletics.

Read: Steroid stanozolol was Ben Johnson's downfall

Read : Disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson 'feels sorry for Lance Armstrong'

The sport has recently been rocked by a string of doping cases, including high-profile athletes like Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Johnson was banned for two years in Seoul after testing positive for the steroid stanolozol shortly after winning the 100m.(AFP photo)

The sport's world governing body, the IAAF, announced last month that it would impose four-year bans for drug offenders from 2015.

Read more: Calvin Smith, true winner of Olympics's dirtiest race' in Seoul

Seven athletes, including one finalist, tested positive for doping at August's World Athletics Championships in Moscow.


Video: 'Murderers have been released but I'm still being punished'


 


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