Ben Johnson’s Teammate Shows Remorse Over His Use of Anabolic Steroids

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Former Canadian sprinter Tony Sharpe was once a teammate of the most infamous steroid-using athlete in the history of track and field – Ben Johnson. It was Johnson’s misfortune of getting caught using steroids at the 1998 Seoul Olympics that ultimately brought down all of his teammates, including Sharpe.

Johnson’s failed post-race drug test after winning the 100-meters in 9.79 was the main impetus behind the Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned Practices Intended to Increase Athletic Performance (also known as the Dubin Inquiry) in 1989.

Sharpe was one of 122 witnesses that included athletes, coach, medical doctors and sports administrators who testified before former Chief Justice of Ontario Charles Dubin. The Dubin Inquiry was the largest government investigation into the world of doping in elite sports.

On April 3, 1989, Sharpe testified that he used anabolic steroids after consulting with his former coach Charlie Francis. He admitted to helping Ben Johnson smuggle steroids into training camp. He witnessed another athlete inject steroids into Johnson. During his testimony, Sharpe suggested that the fight against doping in sport was a hopeless endeavor with little chance of succeeding.

“Their chance of getting caught is there and that’s not enough, so I guess the glory is too sweet and the dollars are too much,” said Sharpe. “I don’t know what you could tell them (athletes) that would, you know, sway them away from it.”

Over twenty years later, Sharpe has changed his tune. He is no longer a steroid user. And he no longer thinks steroids are a problem in sport. Athletes simply rely on hard work and smart training nowadays.

“I don’t think that culture exists today in track and field,” said Sharpe recently. “It’s gone, in my opinion anyways. I just sense that the whole enhancement thing is gone. People are just working harder and smarter.”

Sharpe hopes to meet all the “redemption criteria” set forth by Justice Charles Dubin in the 1990 Dubin Report. These criteria include the expression of genuine remorse, passion for the sport of track and field and the promotion of drug-free sport.

If Sharpe successfully convinces an arbitrator that the former steroid user has redeemed himself, then he can obtain federal sports funding from the Canadian government. This would pave the way for Sharpe to become more involved in the sport and possibly coach at the national and international level in the future.


Hall, J. (October 8, 2012). Admitted former steroid user and Ben Johnson teammate Tony Sharpe reinstated for federal sports funding. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/sports/olympics/article/1268201–admitted-former-steroid-user-and-ben-johnson-teammate-tony-sharpe-reinstated-for-federal-sports-funding