The second situation that was to attract attention because of the shock was the performance of Canada's Ben Johnson, who left Carl Lewis and others at the blocks, establishing a record performance in the 100m. Johnson went on to win the 100m at the Seoul Olympics one year later and was eventually stripped following a positive drugs test for testosterone.
During the Dubin Inquiry in Canada following the scandal at the Seoul Olympics, Johnson admitted that he was taking performance-enhancing drugs for some time and hence his performance at the 1987 World Championships in Rome was tainted. He was also stripped of his medal at that event.
The Seoul Olympics will long be remembered for some outstanding performances but these were overshadowed by the hint of drugs especially in the aftermath of the Ben Johnson positive test.
Florence Griffith-Joyner of the USA established new marks in the 100m and 200m at the Seoul Olympics. Her performances in these two events have left records that seem almost impossible for any other female athlete to achieve. She raised the bar to a level that defied all of athletics science at the time. She never tested positive, as far as we are aware, yet there are many critics of the sport of track and field athletics who simply cannot accept the performance as that coming from a normal athlete.
When we recall that the same ‘Flo Jo,' as she was affectionately called, was an athlete at the IAAF World Championships in Rome one year earlier with little to claim for herself, and that by March of 1988 had begun to rewrite the athletics record books for women athletes in the sprints, her achievements seem all the more remarkable.
Why Flo Jo suddenly stopped running at the height of her career remains a mystery and so too does her untimely death a few years ago, whilst still in what many consider to have been the prime of her life.
In death, as in life, however the rumours have stayed around the achievements of Flo Jo.
The fall of the so called ‘Iron Curtain" and the demise of socialism and the so-called Communist Bloc, led to a number of critical revelations about the systematic drug use programme by some of the former Communist states on athletes from a very young age. We are aware of the horror stories of the way in which athletes were taken from young as potential world-beaters and transformed into super athletes scoring victories at almost every turn.