Ben Johnson drug scandal, 25 years later

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Sept. 24, 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the men’s 100-metres at the Seoul Olympics in a blistering 9.79 seconds, smashing the world record and humbling the likes of American arch-rival Carl Lewis and famed British contender Linford Christie in the process.

But in a shocking twist three days, the newly crowned Olympic and world champion tested positive for stanozolol, a banned steroid, and was stripped of the gold medal and record.

A bewildered and disgraced Johnson denied willingly using steroids, claiming that his customary pre-race herbal concoction had been spiked prior to the Olympic final.

He was subseqently banned from competition, never to regain the form that made him the world’s fastest man, and summoned to testify in an unprecedented government inquiry into drug use in Canadian sport.

The race, the revelation and its sobering aftermath triggered a chain of events that, ultimately, ushered in an era of sweeping change in athletics.

So listen in as CBC Rewind recounts a defining moment in Canadian sport: the Ben Johnson scandal, 25 years after the fact.

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