I was going to post this in the sports section but i think it represents other issues as well.
Fri May 28, 2:00 AM
Surrounded by a throng of microphones and dozens of fans clicking their cameras, Ben Johnson seemed out of his element during a rare public speaking appearance Thursday night in New York.
"I kept a low profile for many years," said Jamaican-born Johnson, who was a panellist on a symposium about the future of Jamaican track and field.
"But I'm getting older. It's time for me to start to speak and come forward and tell the world exactly what [happened]."
The former sprinter has always maintained that he should never have been caught at the 1988 Seoul Olympics since he went off steroids 26 days prior to the competition. He believes his drink was spiked.
Stanozolol wasn't part of his doping regime, he said. Johnson took a designer steroid called Furazobol, a staple of the old East German program.
After remaining silent for the greater part of the past two decades, Johnson, 48, said he now has proof that he was framed. He's ready to tell the story of how he tested positive for stanozolol at the Olympics. The positive test cost him his gold medal and his world record of 9.79 seconds in the 100-metre sprint.
It proved to be the tip of the iceberg in a methodical doping regime run by Johnson's coach Charlie Francis and Dr. Jamie Astaphan. A national inquiry, the Dubin commission, examined the problems of drug use in Canadian sport, a year later in 1989.
Johnson testified under oath that he took steroids throughout his competitive career. In 1993, after serving his initial suspension, Johnson tested positive again, resulting in a lifetime ban from track and field. But that first failed doping test still eats away at him.
"I was wrongfully convicted and singled out," Johnson told reporters on Thursday.
New information that proves he was the victim of a bizarre conspiracy has finally surfaced, Johnson said.
"I was sabotaged. Put it that way."
Johnson plans to release the full details of what happened in a tell-all autobiography, Seoul to Soul, to be released in September.
Johnson has always believed that someone slipped a foreign substance in his drink prior to his drug test in Seoul. Now, he maintains he met the man who drugged him, and that individual plays a prominent role in clearing his name.
The details will come out in the book, and until then, Johnson has so far refused to elaborate or back up his claims. While he continues to profess his innocence, he remains unapologetic about taking performance-enhancing drugs as part of his regular training program.
"What it did for me? It didn't make me run faster. It just [allowed] me to train harder and I could recover quicker. You're in better shape [because you can train harder].
"I wasn't the only one doing it. There was a level playing field."
Of the eight runners in Johnson's final, six have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, including American Carl Lewis, the man who was awarded the gold medal and world record after Johnson was disqualified.
Johnson may have a case when he says he was unfairly singled out he was the only one from that race to receive a lifetime ban but it's no excuse, according to anti-doping advocates.
"He wasn't the only cheater, but he was a cheater," Doug Consiglio told CBCSports.ca from his home in Austin, Texas.
Consiglio, who competed in the 1,500-metre event in Seoul, said Canadian track and field athletes were all automatically branded as cheaters after Johnson's positive test.
"To all us clean athletes, he still owes us an apology."
The Caribbean Lifestyle Television Network in New York arranged for Johnson to be a panellist in the Jamaican sports symposium. On the promotional materials for the event, the flyers listed Johnson's athletic accomplishments, but made no mention of the fact that he had been stripped of all the records set and medals won.
"Yes, he may have done wrong," host Irwine Clare said. "But that doesn't mean we bury him.
"He's redeeming himself and has our support."