Who’s next in the drugs scandal?

Athletics intrigue

The Ben Johnson saga was only part of a long line of athletes and coaches committed, it would seem, to winning at all cost.

Years of research into the use of drugs revealed the following:

Including Johnson, four of the top five finishers of the 100-meter race [1988 Olympics] have all tested positive for banned drugs at some point in their careers: Carl Lewis[3], who was given the gold medal, Linford Christie who was moved up to the silver medal, and Dennis Mitchell. Of these, only Johnson was forced to give up his records and his medals, although he was the only one of the four who tested positive or admitted using drugs during a medal-winning performance. Later, Christie was caught using steroids and banned, although it has to be said that he was found to have metabolites of nandrolone in his urine which has been shown to be able to be produced by taking legal nutritional supplements that may erroneously contain metabolites of nandrolone (Tseng YL, Kuo FH and Sun KH, 2005) and hence may have been accidental as in numerous other doping cases relating to nandrolone. According to documents released in 2003 by a former senior US anti-doping official, Dr. Wade Exum, Lewis and two of his training partners all took the same three types of banned stimulants (ones found in over-the-counter cold medicine), and were caught at the 1988 US Olympic trials, the competition used to select the US athletes for the Olympics. Lewis had the test results overturned, however, as the use was found to be inadvertent and the result of using legal medication, not illegally obtained prescription drugs.

Johnson’s coach, Charlie Francis, a vocal critic of the IOC testing procedures, is the author of Speed Trap, which features Johnson heavily. In the book, he freely admits that his athletes were taking anabolic steroids, as he claims all top athletes are, but also shows why Ben Johnson could not possibly have tested positive for that particular steroid. Johnson actually preferred Furazabol. He thought Stanozolol made his body "feel tight".