Ben Johnson (athlete)
Born in Falmouth , Jamaica, Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976. He made his debut at a major international tournament at the 100 m at the 1983 World Championships, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals.
The following year, Ben Johnson reached to the final of the 100m at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, finished third behind Carl Lewis. With the Canadian 4 x 100 m relay team, he won a second bronze medal.
At the 1987 World Championships, in Rome, Johnson gained instant world fame when he beat Lewis for the title, setting a new World Record of 9.83 seconds as well. Johnson and Lewis were also the favourites for the 1988 Olympic title. In the final, Johnson beat Lewis, clocking a new World Record of 9.79 seconds. A few days later, however, Johnson's urine samples were found to contain steroids, and he was disqualified for doping use.
He later admitted having used the doping when he ran his 1987 World Record, which caused the IAAF to delete that record from the books as well. But Johnson and hundreds of other athletes have long complained that they used doping in order to remain on an equal footing with the other top athletes on drugs they had to compete against.
His claim bears some weight in light of the revelations since 1988. Including Johnson, four of the top five finishers of the 100-meter race have all tested positive to banned drugs at one point or another. They are Carl Lewis, who was given the gold medal, along with Linford Christie who was moved up to the silver medal, and Dennis Mitchell . Of these, only Johnson was forced to give up his records and his medals, although he was the only one of the four who tested positive or admitted using drugs during a medal-winning performance. Later, Christie was caught using steroids and banned. According to documents released in 2003 by a former senior US anti-doping official, Dr. Wade Exum, Carl Lewis and two of his training partners all took the same three types of banned stimulants (ones found in over-the-counter cold medicine), and were caught at the 1988 US Olympic trials, which is the competition used to select the US athletes that will compete in the Olympics.
In 1991, after Johnson's suspension ended, he attempted a comeback, but without much success. In 1993, he was found guilty of using doping at a race in Montreal, and was subsequently banned from the sport for life by the IAAF.