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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 03:17 GMT
Thief out-sprints Johnson
Ben Jonhson raced after his stolen wallet
Ben Jonhson raced after his stolen wallet
Disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson made a racing comeback - chasing after his wallet.

The Canadian 100m runner, who was stripped of his 1988 Olympic gold medal and world record after taking steroids, sprinted after a woman and a girl who had pickpocketed his wallet in Rome.

Although he managed to catch one of them another did what many professional athletes could only dream of in his heyday - out-sprint him.

The wallet, containing more than 3,000, was not recovered.

Rome police said Johnson, 38, was distracted while he was walking down the elegant Via Veneto.

Johnson said: "Everything happened too fast.

"A little girl approached me along with a lady.

"The girl held my left arm and started pulling my arm down.


"The woman then pulled out my wallet from my side pocket and slid it into the newspaper.

"When I realised, 15 seconds later, that my wallet was gone, the woman had disappeared."

He managed to catch the girl but the woman had gone with the wallet.

Johnson was planning to head back to Toronto on Thursday.

He had stopped in Rome for a few days on his way back from Libya, where he has been hired as a personal trainer by Saad Gaddafi.

Saad Gaddafi, a soccer player, is trying to get in shape for the upcoming Libyan soccer season.

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