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Ben Johnson claims Carl Lewis behind positive drug test in Seoul Add to ...

It's an implausible tale of treachery that goes back thousands of years.

Ben Johnson was an Egyptian pharaoh, Carl Lewis the plotting villain.

It may or may not have been the first time their paths had crossed, and it certainly would not be the last.

The former Canadian sprint star says he finally uncovered the "truth" behind his fall from grace through countless hours of working with spiritual adviser Bryan Farnum.

The result is Johnson's book Seoul to Soul, an unconventional sports autobiography written in collaboration with Farnum. In the book, Johnson accuses rival sprinter Lewis and a co-conspirator Andre Jackson - and casts suspicion on several others - of sabotage at the 1988 Seoul Olympics that cost Johnson the 100-metre gold medal.

Whether or not his book has any effect on public opinion, the 48-year-old Johnson says the process of putting his past in print has been a big weight off his shoulders.

"Everybody was putting the needle into me, I was abandoned," Johnson told The Canadian Press.

"But I have faith in the Lord, and I knew that this day would come. My mom didn't live to see this day (his mother Gloria died of cancer in 2004), but she said, when the day comes, just remember that I told you so, and she was right."

The sabotage story isn't new.

Johnson has long accused Lewis and a "mystery man" he now identifies as Jackson, a former athlete and friend of Lewis, of spiking his beer before his drug test in Seoul.

But the fact their three lives have been intertwined for thousands of years?

Farnum, a big burly man who claims to have the gift of revealing past lives, said Johnson was once the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu, who lived in the mid-2500s B.C.

"Ben was the big kahuna," Farnum says. "Andre Jackson and Carl Lewis were part of the dynasty and there was a fight for the rulership."

Lewis and Jackson plotted to kill Khufu by spiking his beer, Farnum says.

Seoul, you could say, was unresolved business.

Back in the modern era, Lewis has long rejected Johnson's accusations. And Jackson says he no longer has an interest in responding.


Johnson sits in a high-back leather chair in Farnum's office that Farnum jokingly refers to as "the hot seat."

Now a grandfather, Johnson is still lean from his regular workouts at York University's indoor track. He's dressed smartly in black wool slacks, polished dress shoes, and a cashmere scarf knotted around his grey sweater.

He smiles easily, and any trace of the awkward stutter that made him an easy target in his days in the track spotlight has all but disappeared.

His black Mercedes Kompressor is parked outside - still luxurious but less ostentatious than the Ferrari Testarossa he once sped around Toronto in.

Johnson met Farnum two years ago when he was referred by a friend, and it took just one meeting with the man in his upscale home just north of Toronto, Johnson says, to lift the thick cloud of depression that had enveloped the sprinter since his teens.

"I'm a lot more happy than I was even 20 years ago, I felt like the whole world was on my head," Johnson says.

"Ben's good," Farnum adds. "Two years ago that statement was not an accurate statement. (Seoul) bothered Ben a great deal, but we had to work on his soul, get rid of his anger, a lot of stuff we worked on besides the dark cloud that he had."


Farnum is a charismatic man who welcomes a stranger at his door in a warm embrace.

Once inside his office, he lies back on an oversized leather couch, his head resting in the crook of one arm, bare feet propped up in a scene more reminiscent of beer and a football game.

Before an interview can begin - it would eventually stretch to more than an hour - Johnson and the guest must go through a "forgiveness." They must forgive each other for any harm done in previous lives.

A video screen on one wall displays a high-tech surveillance system with cameras trained on several locations around the house. There's a painting of Jesus and a framed photo of Farnum with former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, whom he calls a friend.

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