Ben Johnson: Using Steroids Was “Right Thing to Do”

  • Tweet

Disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson believed that using anabolic steroids as an elite Olympic sprinter was “the right thing to do”.  Johnson made the comments during an interview with journalist and author Richard Moore. Moore’s book, “The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the Seoul Olympic 100m final” was released on June 7, 2012.

“I thought about it a lot. I say to myself, did I do the right thing? To go down that path, to take performance enhancing drugs?” Johnson told Moore. “And I say, that was the right thing to do at the time.”

Johnson tested positive for stanozolol metabolites after he won the 100 meter finals over long-time rival Carl Lewis at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Stanozolol is more commonly referred to as Winstrol or Winny by athletes and bodybuilders.

Johnson has consistently denied taking Winstrol during the build-up to the Seoul Olympics. Both Johnson and his coach Charlie Francis admitted that anabolic steroids were part of the protocol used to help Johnson recover from his intense training routine.

“I was training so hard, 40 hours a week sometimes, four or five hours a day,” said Johnson. “Charlie figured I’d need something to help me recover.”

But both Johnson and Francis adamantly denied using Winstrol while admitting to the use of the East German designer steroid named furazobol.

Winstrol was one of two anabolic steroids that the sprinter learned to avoid well in advance of the Seoul Olympics. The other steroid was Dianabol.

Johnson responded very well to steroids and gained too much muscle and weight from certain steroids like Dianabol. Too much muscle is detrimental to an elite sprinters performance. For all the efforts Johnson made at minimizing the steroid-induced muscle gain, he still looked like a mini-bodybuilder.

On the other hand, Winstrol had different drawbacks. It seemed that Winstrol made Johnson’s muscle too tight and more susceptible to injury.

So, if Johnson didn’t use Winstrol before the Seoul Olympics, why were stanozolol metabolites found in his urine sample?

Johnson has long blamed a “mystery man” for sabotaging his drink during pre-race preparations for the Olympic 100 meter final. The mystery man has been identified as Dr. André Action Diakité Jackson.

Author Richard Moore interviews Dr. Jackson about the accusations in his book. Moore reports that Carl Lewis’ manager Joe Douglas planted the mystery man in the anti-doping control room in order to “keep an eye” on Johnson. Further details can be found in Moore’s book “The Dirtiest Race in History”.

 Ben Johnson


Moore, R. (June 10, 2012). Interview: Ben Johnson, sprinter. Retrieved from http://www.scotsman.com/sport/athletics/interview-ben-johnson-sprinter-1-2347937