Carl Lewis set me up: Ben Johnson
The Canadian sprinter continues to insist that his positive test at Seoul was result of a conspiracy to discredit him.india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 15:09 IST
Disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson has claimed that superstar rival Carl Lewis played a part in a conspiracy to sabotage his drug sample at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, costing him his 100 meters gold medal.
Johnson set a world record of 9.79 seconds to win the 100 meters at Seoul but was stripped of his gold medal and world record when he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.
The Canadian sprinter has since admitted using banned drugs but has continued to insist that his positive test at Seoul was the result of a conspiracy to discredit him.
"I have the information on how it was done and why it was done this way and who was behind it," Johnson told an Australian newspaper in aninterview.
Asked whether Lewis was involved, Johnson said: "I won't say too much but ... he's involved."
Johnson has claimed he drank beer with a former US football player in the drug test waiting room at Seoul, that the footballer was "a family friend" of Carl Lewis and that his beer had been tainted with stanozolol.
"I've been speaking to my lawyer and he wants to keep it as low (key) as possible until next June. We're trying to get some information, try to get that guy (the footballer) to speak," Johnson said.
Lewis, in his book "Inside Track," acknowledged knowing the footballer seen drinking with Johnson at Seoul but ridiculed any suggestion the player may have tampered with Johnson's beer.
The newspaperwas unable to contact Lewis for comment. Lewis' manager, Joe Douglas, rejected Johnson's claims, saying: "Carl had absolutely nothing to do with Ben testing positive."
Asked how the footballer obtained a pass into the doping control area, Douglas said: "If I thought Ben was going to take a masking agent I might plant somebody in there to make sure if he did he would take a photo of it.
"You want to make sure somebody doesn't take anything from their bag, to get close enough to make sure he (Johnson) didn't take anything to cover up.
"That's as far as I can go. But there is no way, ever, that Carl would sabotage or make any athletes turn positive. That's not his style.
"Carl would never ever try to get somebody caught on drugs. He might be upset they weren't getting caught, but he would never sabotage anyone."
Johnson's disqualification in Seoul led to Lewis being awarded the gold medal and the world record for his time of 9.92 seconds.
Johnson made similar conspiracy allegations in an interview with an Australian television network in October. He admitted thathe had been a longtime user of performance-enhancing drugs but said stanozolol was not one of the drugs he had been using.
"Number one, that day the drugs that they find in my system was not the drugs that I was using," he said.
"Number two, Ben Johnson was sabotaged in Seoul. Somebody set me up.
"I'm not denying at all that I was taking drugs but that's the drugs that I was using that they claiming.
"Drugs was in sports long before Ben Johnson came on board and drugs will be there long after Ben Johnson is gone."
First Published: Dec 06, 2006 15:09 IST