Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field·Audio

Ben Johnson: A hero disgraced

Listen in as CBC Rewind recounts a defining moment in Canadian sport: the Ben Johnson drug scandal, 25 years after the fact.

CBC Rewind turns back clock to 1988 Seoul Olympics

Canada's Ben Johnson, left, signals victory as he wins the men's 100-metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics on Sept. 24, 1988. (Ron Kuntz/Getty Images)

On Sept. 24, 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the men's 100-metres at the Seoul Olympics in a blistering 9.79 seconds, smashing the world record and humbling the likes of American arch-rival Carl Lewis and famed British contender Linford Christie.

But in a shocking twist, the newly crowned Olympic and world champion tested positive for stanozolol, a banned steroid, and three days later was stripped of the gold medal and world record.

A bewildered and disgraced Johnson denied willingly using steroids, claiming that his customary pre-race herbal concoction had been spiked prior to the Olympic final. 

He was subseqently banned from competition, never to regain the form that made him the world's fastest man, and summoned to testify in an unprecedented government inquiry into drug use in Canadian sport. 

The race, the revelation and its sobering aftermath triggered a chain of events that ultimately ushered in an era of sweeping change in athletics. 

So listen in as CBC Rewind recounts a defining moment in Canadian sport: the Ben Johnson steroid scandal, 25 years after the fact. 

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