Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content


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

"In the face of what really took place inside the drug testing room in Seoul, the most up to date reality is that after 22 years, I've genuinely lost interest in responding to or countering such claims, particularly since the actuality has no direct benefit to anyone. . . In conclusion, this conversation has reached its peak and I have obviously moved on with my life, so at this time, I would encourage Ben to continue working with controlling his destiny (or someone else surely will)."


Johnson acknowledges he took steroids, saying he started back in the early '80s. He originally denied it after Seoul, then admitted it during the Dubin inquiry.

But he believes he was set up in Seoul because, according to his drug protocol, the steroids should have cleared his system before he was tested.

Johnson also claims Astaphan, the West Indies-born physician who administered his steroids, threatened to go public at the Seoul Olympics about Johnson's steroid use. He asked Johnson for a million dollars, although Johnson says nothing came of the threat. Astaphan died of a heart attack in 2006.

Johnson says he felt abandoned in the days after Seoul, escaping to the basement of his mom's house for months to evade the media camped out on his curb.

He rented movies to fill his time. He was partial to Westerns.

Johnson has since sold the house he shared with his mom and owns a home in Markham, just north of Toronto.

While Johnson says he's made peace with the past, he still hopes the book might bring restitution of some sort. He'd like the gold medal back, or even an honorary medal from the federal government.

"If I do get my medal back I would probably put it in a museum, I think that would be the best place for it, because it's been 22 years since I won it, I owned it only for 24 hours and it was gone," Johnson says. "I would donate it to a museum so people could see the history of what took place 22 years ago."

Farnum suggests Johnson, Lewis and Jackson all take a polygraph test on national television.

"That would be huge. We would like to see Dr. Phil stickhandle the whole thing," Farnum says. "That's what Ben needs is for someone like Oprah or Dr. Phil, someone high profile who will take this project on. We really would like to see Ben get his day. . . let's just clear it up so Ben can move on with his life."

Johnson would also like to see a talk-show showdown.

"It would be nice if (Lewis) can come into this light and say to the world, 'Yes, this is what happened,' or take a polygraph test and say, 'Yes, this is what happened,' to clear the air and then move on with our lives," Johnson says. "That would be nice. That's what I'd like to see."


What Johnson doesn't address in the book is his second positive test in 1993, which led to a lifetime ban by the world governing body for track and field.

Asked about it, Johnson alleges problems with the drug testing protocol, including a courier who took his urine sample home for the weekend before delivering it to the Montreal drug lab.

"This was a setup again," Johnson says. "Trying to discredit my name."

He's been in the headlines on and off in the years since.

He worked as a trainer for the soccer-playing son of Moammar Gadhafi, and briefly trained Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona. He raced a horse and a race car in a charity event in 1998 in Charlottetown - he finished third.

He launched a sports clothing line in 2005, and hopes to revisit the fashion business after putting it on hold while writing his book.

Johnson appeared in a television ad campaign for an energy drink, Cheetah Power Surge, in 2006.

These days he takes pride in his daughter Jeneil - he never married her mother, and managed to keep the news of his fatherhood out of the spotlight in the '80s. And he delights in the precociousness of his five-year-old granddaughter Micaila.

Johnson spends his nights at York University coaching athletes from a variety of sports - baseball, soccer, and of course, track - with the aim of helping them earn university scholarships.

"I'm helping out these youngsters, trying to help them get scholarships, get off the streets, turn into something good the experience that I have had for 35 years," Johnson says.

He hopes his book serves as a lesson.

"I've been thinking about this book for a very long time," Johnson says. "My mom said, this day will come for you to speak the truth and to show the world your experience, and this will teach a lot of people."

Report Typo/Error
Single page

Follow us on Twitter: @Globe_Sports


Next story




Most popular videos »

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular