Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Andrew Pirie
Drugs in Sports Ben Johnson
Drugs in sprinting
It was continued from Article Drug in Sports Testing. I did not write the following material below just found it from another source; a lot of it may now be outdated. Also, read up on the Drug in Athletics archive.
Provides a background to all the pointing fingers and the whole ‘speculated’ coverup since the 1988 Ben Johnson performance-enhancing drugs in sprinting bust. This article will cover various drugs in sprinting cases.
Drugs in Sprinting – Ben Johnson
We will start in 1988 when Ben Johnson was caught with performance-enhancing drugs in his system, and the whole world felt vindicated that the Mike Tyson of Track was busted.
- Hooray .. something had been achieved.
- And the man showed no remorse, saying that everyone else was doing it.
- Rumors abounded regarding the big coverup that was taking place amongst the officials
of the sport.
- The rumor is that they were too afraid to uncover the truth regarding the extent
- of drugs in sprinting because it would affect them through the loss of sponsorship.
They would lose their many perks
Johnson was thought to be expendable, as he wasn’t considered good for the sport. He was aggressive and did not fit the role of the image officials considered ‘good.’
Here are some home truths …
Linford Christie was caught and let off … people said that he portrayed an image that was good for the sport and its sponsors.
There is no hiding the fact that he was busted… Very similar to Jeffrey Archer, he won a court case against a journalist who accused him of drug abuse.
Take a look at what Christie looked like when he first came onto the scene.
Any comments on this before we move on … Christie was again busted for drug use; however, he had retired and decided not to challenge the 2-year ban.
During the Sydney 2000 Olympics, he was not allowed anywhere near the athletic facilities in that country …
What do the Brits do … they make him the team Manager of an Athletic Team.
Carl Lewis drugs
In 1988 after Ben Johnson declared that they were all taking ped drugs. The people blacklisted Johnson and tried to push him into the background. Out of sight, out of mind.
This year 2003, it was disclosed that Carl Lewis’s drugs tested positive for a substance in 1988, but it was not deemed serious enough to pursue. So they say. The only thing in Lewis’ favor is that he is not muscled like the rest of the gorillas.
Also, in the document regarding 1988, it is mentioned that 8 members of the US team had tested positive; however, it was covered up by their organization.
Such was the lack of trust that the World Anti-Doping Agency was established .. an independent organization that aimed to do the World’s drug testing – World Anti-Doping Agency.
Dennis Mitchell, another athlete in the 1988 Olympic Final, was subsequently caught for ped drugs and banned from the sport.
We now move towards the build-up to the 2000 Olympics, the first year of Linford Christie’s retirement, and the year he was caught while being tested for an indoor meeting.
He was supposedly in retirement, and it seemed to be just rewarded even if at the time he was ‘maybe’ innocent.
The 2000 Olympic Buildup
The year 2000 found the Kansas Cannonball, Maurice Greene, exploding in all the stadiums worldwide.
His training partner Ato Boldon was close to the great man himself. Greene had captured the World Record and was the outright favorite to take the 100m title.
An expose was done on the HSI Training Group, which had the world’s top sprinters in its ranks.
During the expose, they interviewed Greene about the supplements he was taking, and he answered weakly that he wouldn’t discuss it because he was not receiving money for promoting them. Then Greene’s lawyer/manager appeared and put an end to the interview.
We now move forward. Keep in mind this expose.
Now towards the 2003 World Championships in Paris and the rumors begin to float around that things are in the pipeline for big busts.
Drugs in Sprinting 2003 World Championships
At the 2003 World Championships in Paris, bizarre events began to take place, athletes favored for winning medals tripped over hurdles, some failed to make the finals, and those who did make the final failed to medal.
Maurice Greene was now a shadow of his former self… The new WR holder over 100m Tim Montgomery was not firing on all cylinders … and in the end, the slowest time ever was recorded for a World Championship 100m final.
And the winner had been caught for a banned substance a year before when winning the Commonwealth Games title but was let off for the substance came from his asthma pump, which he had not disclosed. The bitter taste is only slight, and Kim Collins is not the biggest-built sprinter around.
In the 100m, the final 2nd goes to the new Junior WR holder and 3rd unexpectantly to Darren Campbell. The great favorite Dwain Chambers finishes 4th .. causing retired 200 and 400m WR holder Michael Johnson to comment that Chambers has bulked up too much for his good. Chambers had switched coaches from longtime coach Mike Macfarlane to Remi Korchemny, based in the USA.
Kelli White, the American sprint sensation, who has had her own life of setbacks after being slashed across the face while waiting for a train some years before, astounds the world with her brilliance in winning both the 100 and 200m titles at the Paris Games.
Sadly, a stimulant called modafinil is detected in her urine sample, and everyone begins to whisper.
Modafinil is used to combat narcolepsy, and she states her doctor prescribed it because she comes from a family of narcolepsy sufferers. Why was this not disclosed previously?
Well, because modafinil is not on the banned substance list.
- Let’s move on …
- NO .. we can’t; we now hear more news regarding the USATFA – USA Track and Field Association, which governs the US sport.
- What’s that
More Drugs in Sprinting rumors of the Paris World Champs
well … we have now got as far as an exciting World Champs, the winner of the 100m men, is under a cloud for previous encounters of the substance kind and the winner of the Women’s 100 and 200m is suffering from narcolepsy.
For good measure, the Sydney Olympic Champion over 200m is missing and had been accused of running away from the drug testers when they arrived at their training base unannounced. He fails to attend the games, and his female compatriot is a shadow of her powerful self. Pure speculation.
Drugs in Sprinting Moving on, we have a great winner of the Men’s 400m
Then further murmurings occur, that up to 19 US athletes tested positive before Sydney 2000 and were allowed to compete. The one big name that did get shot out for drugs in sprinting was CJ Hunter, the then-husband of Marion Jones. Jones divorces the man and tries to put as much distance between her and the mention of drugs.
She is a truly remarkable athlete and can’t come close to breaking the amazing 10.49 established by Flo Jo, who died very suddenly from heart failure, which was viewed by many as the after-effects of performance-enhancer drug use. Oh … did we mention her season of great performances was in 1988?
So .. then whose name is on this list …
Oh no … Jerome Young … was let off for drugs in sprinting; he has just won the 400m title, and if he had been serving his sentence, he would still be suspended from competition. Oh well …
As part of Dick Pound’s [Pound is head of World Anti Doping Agency] ambition to clean up the drugs in sprinting, he needs further help from the US; however, such things are not forthcoming … The USFA seems to be a law unto itself…
The games are abuzz with certain murmurings that there is a major investigation to follow by the
As for White … Well …
Narcolepsy is a serious medical disorder and a key to understanding other sleep disorders.
YAWN is happy
Then it happens a 2nd American is tested for modafinil. Surely YAWN will be happy to have two athletes of such a high status represent them. YAWN stands for Young Americans with Narcolepsy [ and is mentioned purely for humor ]
This makes the people at the top more interested in the substance Modafinil.
Also, the rumors before the Games were that the IAAF had struck a deal with the French authorities to raid any of the athletes’ hotel rooms during the games. Speculation again, but enough noise.
No matter what the IAAF does, they cannot stop World Anti-Doping Agency as they do not fall under their jurisdiction … and USATFA can also do nothing about USADA, the American equivalent to World Anti-Doping Agency.
The rumors that had athletes scurrying around on tiptoes have not hit the fan yet, but there are discussions in places that something is sure to happen soon.
Then it happens … 3 days after the close of the Games, BALCO is raided on September 3, by agents of the Internal Revenue Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, and Olympic drug-testing officials.
This is a well-orchestrated bust, and it has all the right to go through everything. All money that has changed hands and the list of clients …
It is then announced it could be due to TAX EVASION … Aaaah … the athlete’s breath again.
A year back
Now let us take a step back to a year ago. A certain athlete in America had been under a cloud of suspicion due to her lack of success at the Olympics and the World Championships. It is speculated that she doesn’t attend meetings where stringent drug testing is the order of the day. She is a middle-distance runner and is seen as the most successful American middle and distance runner since Mary Decker Slaney, Mary one of the Zola Budd trip fame.
And incidentally, Slaney tested positive for a drug when over the age of 40 while participating in an indoor championship … she was banned for two years but still, some American institutions feel it right to have her listed in their Hall of Fame.
There are rumors abound that certain events in America will forego drug testing to have athletes break world records and then promote themselves to get better sponsorship.
This athlete in question sets a World Indoor Record and is happy to take a drug test … so that will put a rest to all the speculation about her. She took the test; you have to if you want the WR to be ratified.
Sorry, the detractors say … our suspicions are misplaced … and to crown it all, she will be attending the Paris games …
Strangely though, her performances fall off on the day of the final. And she fades over the last 100m, where her customary sprint finish would have her in a medal position.
She was there … she was tested … she set a world record.
Get over it, and move on.
What happens next – BALCO
So who is BALCO .. Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative
BALCO performs blood-testing services for top athletes. Analyzing trace mineral levels, and providing supplements to correct any deficiencies. They also sell a legal product called ZMA … which helps with the minerals Zinc and Magnesium … speculators say this could also be a cover so that athletes can say they go to the man for nutritional assistance. Oh .. should we mention Christie used these products
The President is Victor Conte, whose list of clients includes such star athletes Barry Bonds, Oakland Raider linebacker Bill Romanowski and Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones. Conte is also accused as the source of this drug, which will be discussed shortly.
Did we mention a rumored relationship between Maurice Greene’s training group and this company in the past? Is this the company that was supplying them with the Nutritional Supplements which led to the World Record season [???]
Heart of the Case
Ok … so we now have the company at the heart of the case .. however, we are not finished … let’s start piecing things together.
In the summer, of June, to be more accurate, a parcel turned up on the desk of Dr. Don Catlin at his laboratory at the University of California in Los Angeles. The parcel contained a syringe, and inside was a substance that was ‘the new designer drug’ that could not be picked up via the tests available.
If this drug is not detectable, then athletes could have their tests, and they would not have a problem, as in the case of the athlete who set the WR Indoors before June.
The syringe has been sent to him. And it had been given to an official of USADA by a coach. The coach is meant to be from an established group – more on this later. Who said he wanted to come clean? They mentioned that they had information on a new strain of designer performance enhancers such as anabolic steroids. Which were so powerful that athletes only had to inject themselves with a couple of drops under their tongue. It could help make them run faster, throw further, and jump higher.
The drug has been identified as THG (tetrahydrogestrinone).
And they now have a test to track the substance.
Now take note, this drug is not ingested in the same manner as other supplements … And then see how all those who get tested positive think they can pull the wool over the public’s eyes by stating … I didn’t know what I was taking … but…
So there we are …….. the first athlete to be announced as testing positive is this year’s winner of the American Shot Put title, Kevin Toth … who has stated he has to know idea how the substance got into his system …
The 2nd athlete to be tested positive was Dwain Chambers …
Chambers and his coach – Remi Korchemny
Chambers’ coach, as mentioned, is Remi Korchemny. Since going to this American-based coach, he has become far bulkier, and thus reasons those in the sport will point a finger. The positive test has now confirmed the finger of suspicion. Chambers says he didn’t know he had ingested the substance. No idea how it got into his system.
Try .. you injected it under your tongue, mate. Unless there are other ways to take it … none have been presented as yet.
Now, did we mention that Remi Korchemny is also a coach to Kelli White?
Now come on … wait a minute … what you are saying she was tested for Modafinil …
Yes … but she is also a client of Balco.
Tests on American athletes have found 6 or 7 instances of Modafinil traces. OK, let’s move on.
Regina Jacobs, the 40-year-old athlete with the build of juiced up 20 years old. Has tested positive as well … The 3rd athlete to be announced.
The athlete who set the new WR Indoors has come face to face with reality …
USADA … are now testing all samples taken of the US team at the National Championships before there was the knowledge that there was a test available.
Drugs in Sprinting USATFA
All of a sardine, USATFA is coming across as the strictest set-up in the world. And is shouting the odds that they will do everything in their power to clean up the sport … Yes, Yes.
Baldrick, a cunning plan
If this were the case in 1988 when Ben Johnson and his coach Charlie Francis stated that everyone else was doing it. We wouldn’t have half of the problems we have worldwide …
In distance running, we have a man who is being accused of juicing the Kenyans. And it is time that all the dirt is cleared out of the sport …
In cycling, the name that keeps cropping up is Michelle Ferrari, and Lance Armstrong’s name keeps popping up in association with him.
World Anti Doping AgencyThe saga continues
As a matter of interest. Did I mention that the name being bandied around as the coach who spilled the beans is being speculated as to the coach of which group …
Oh, you guessed it, HSI
Source Time-to-Run contributor
Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021-
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
You can find more information on Coaching here