Tainted and expelled Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson has alleged that the 100 metre race in the 1988 Seoul Olympics was fixed. Johnson had emerged the champion by breaking then the 9.8 second barrier only to be stripped of the world record and the gold medal with dope charges two days later.
Thirty years later, a report in a Canadian newspaper has revealed inconsistencies in Johnson’s laboratory reports. The findings have prompted the sprinter to level serious accusation against the sports’ administrators, hinting that the race was fixed to help USA win the gold.
Johnson has been away from the track for three decades now for failing the drug test as he tested positive for banned anabolic steroid stanozolol. US track legend Carl Lewis was among six of the eight finalists to be accused of doping in the “dirtiest race in history”, but only John was found guilty and banned.
Following revelations about inconsistencies in the drug test report, Johnson has asserted with conviction that the 100m sprint final in Seoul Olympic Games was “fixed”.
“I know that whatever happened in Seoul was premeditated. It was a set-up, I know that from Day 1. And 30 years later, it has come out that actually it was fixed at Olympic Games because America wanted to win the gold medal,” national daily Hindustan Times has quoted Johnson, in India for the Ekamra International Sports Literature Festival at Bhubaneshwar, as saying in an interview.
“There is politics in every sport. It’s dirty, it’s not good and I don’t like it… I have no regrets. I can’t change whatever is in my destiny. If I do something great and people are jealous, I can’t do anything about it.”
Johnson’s world record timing of 9.79 seconds in the 100m final was derecognised and the gold medal went to American Lewis, who had timed 9.92 seconds.
The Toronto-based newspaper has reported that Johnson’s laboratory report had hand-written and unsigned changes and inconclusive statements about the type of steroid found in Johnson’s system, among other things. Also, no Canadian official was allowed to see the laboratory report.
With no way to appeal against International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to strip him of his gold medal, Johnson had to live with the ignominy of being called a dope cheat for the last 30 years.
“The only problem between me and (Justin) Gatlin is that he is American and I am Canadian. Americans take care of their athletes, so to speak. When America has certain problems in their country, they don’t tell the media anything, they keep it hush-hush. A lot of people die in America but they don’t tell the tourists ‘don’t go to America because it’s bad for you’. The western world will admit that ‘ok we have this there is a problem in our country and are trying to fix it as quickly as possible’.
“But Americans they will lie about everything,” he said.