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1993: Johnson gets life ban from athletics

VIDEO : IAAF issues statement banning Johnson

The disgraced Olympic sprinter, Ben Johnson, has been banned from athletics for life after failing a drugs test for a second time.

The International Amateur Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced the ban after a meeting in Paris. It had been widely expected after Johnson tested positive for a banned substance in Canada last month.

Canadian Johnson won the 100m at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 but was subsequently stripped of his medal after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

He returned to athletics after a two-year ban but failed to regain his form. At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, he did not even reach the 100m final.

Last month he made what will almost certainly be his last appearance at an athletics meeting at Ghent in Belgium. Only a few days earlier, he had failed a test for a performance enhancing drug.

Overwhelming evidence

Today's announcement was made by Istvan Gyulai, IAAF Secretary: "Under IAAF rules an athlete will be ineligible for life for a second doping offence, pending a hearing before the respective national athletic federation."

IAAF sources say the evidence against Johnson is overwhelming and an appeal is therefore unlikely to succeed.

The athletics world has condemned Johnson for bringing the sport into disrepute.

Paul Dupre, who represents Athletics Canada, said: "The Olympic movement, the athletics movement, this country, we are all carrying the burden of the embarrassment."

Frank Dick, British team coach, said the world had been prepared to forgive Johnson the first time he failed a dope test - but a second offence was unforgivable. "A life ban is just what he deserves," he said.

In Context
Ben Johnson smashed his own world record at the 1988 Seoul Olympics to complete the 100m in a new time of 9.79 seconds.

Johnson claimed drug use was widespread among athletes. A Royal Commission set up by Canada to investigate the use of drugs in athletics after the Seoul Olympics was told many athletes were using banned substances.

Johnson now spends his time coaching. In 2002 he was working as a personal trainer to the son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

In September 2002, American Tim Montgomery became the first man to run the 100m faster than Johnson. He set a new world record time of 9.78 seconds at the Grand Prix meeting in Paris and tested drug-free.

Montgomery was subsequently stripped of the title in December 2005 and banned for two years after a drugs case in the US found he was among a number of athletes who had been supplied with performance-enhancing steroids.


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