Ben Johnson thinks doping is worse than 30 years ago

Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson made his name in track and field by winning the 100m dash at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, which was dubbed the dirtiest race in history. Days after the race, Johnson’s urine sample came back positive for the steroid stanozolol, and he was stripped of his Olympic gold and issued a three-year ban. Though Johnson competed during a dirty time in track and field, the former world champion thinks the sport today is dirtier than it was 30 years ago.

In a March 27 interview with Radio Jamaica, Johnson said he believes not much has changed from his era to now, and that he is not surprised to see so many doping violations in athletics. “If it weren’t for the more powerful nations being beaten at their own game, doping wouldn’t be a big issue,” said Johnson.

Johnson, now 62, was banned for life from athletics by the IAAF (now World Athletics) in 1993 after another positive doping test, this time for excess testosterone. Johnson believes countries like Jamaica are punching above their weight with its sprint rivalry against the U.S. “In my days, the Americans did not like someone from a small island beating them,” he said. “The opportunity to do well and make a living in track and field is hard. Americans blame others, but they also dope themselves.”

The 1988 Olympic 100m final was dubbed the dirtiest race ever, as six of the eight finalists had a positive doping test at some point in their careers. The bronze medallist, American Calvin Smith, was the only sprinter among the top five who never had a positive test.

Johnson went on to say that he does not follow track and field as much as he used to, but still sees the times athletes are running on social media and sanctions posted by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

posted Friday March 29th
by Marley Dickinson