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Ben Johnson Disqualified at Seoul Olympics September 27, 1988

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At the Seoul Olympics on September 24, 1988, competing in the 100 meter sprint, Ben Johnson won a decisive victory over his rival, nine-time Olympic gold medalist, Carl Lewis. Three days later, after tests revealed that Johnson had used illegal performance enhancing drugs, he was stripped of the gold medal (and his world record was revoked) and it as awarded to Lewis.

Johnson won the bronze medal in the 100 at 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Lewis took the gold medal there. (He also won the 200 meters, the long jump, and was on the 4×100 team that captured the gold medal.) This was not the first time that Johnson had beaten Lewis, in fact Johnson won five races in a row against Johnson between 1985 and 1987. After the fourth loss in Seville, Spain, Lewis commented, “A lot of people have come out of nowhere and are running unbelievably, and I just don’t think they’re doing it without drugs,”If I were taking drugs, I could do a 9.80 right away-just like him.”

Six of the eight finalists in Seoul would later fail drugs test or be implicated in their use. While before the race the IOC had largely been ambivalent on the issue, the embarrassment caused by the scandal lead to a new regime of drug testing. Read more


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