Posts Tagged ‘Olympic games’

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Ben Johnson won the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100m final but was stripped of his title after testing positive to a banned substance, handing the gold to Carl Lewis

Question

 

The Jamaican-born Canadian Ben Johnson is infamously remembered as the 100m sprinter who tested positive at the Seoul Olympics of 1988. Some critics have suggested that the American Carl Lewis, Johnson’s major rival, also tested positive during his career but this was ‘covered up’. In your view, is there a case against Lewis? Investigate and explain why.

 

Introduction

 

The track and field 100m final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics would be dubbed “the dirtiest race in history” (Mackay 2003). Five of the eight competitors would go on to fail drug tests throughout their careers and public opinion of athletes from that period is shaped heavily by the events of one race (Honeyball 2004). Canadian world champion, Ben Johnson, broke the world record with a time of 9.79 seconds and won the race comfortably, defeating his fierce American rival, Carl Lewis (9.79* 2012; Hall & Moore 2012; Honeyball 2004; Mackay 2003). Only days later, Johnson had failed a drug test that would make him the villain of the Olympics and give Lewis, the all-America likeable hero, the gold which many felt he deserved (Hall & Moore 2012). However, in order to remain competitive against a field of cheating athletes, critics have long suspected that Lewis had been using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) too.

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