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Athletics still 'all corrupt' claims Ben Johnson

Listen to the full interview on the BBC Radio 5 Live website

Ben Johnson
Johnson became the first athlete to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs

Disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson insists athletics is still "corrupt" more than two decades after he was stripped of Olympic gold for doping.

In a tetchy interview with BBC 5 live's Mike Costello - a conversation that Johnson cuts short - the former athlete maintains he has been treated unfairly.

"I don't watch track and field that much because it's all corrupted. I was the scapegoat," said the 48-year-old.

Johnson was disqualified for taking steroids at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

The first athlete to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs, Johnson was speaking about his autobiography Seoul to Soul, which is due out in September.

He claimed if he had not been doping he would have had no chance of winning when he was competing.

"I was not protected and did not get the same treatment as everyone else," claimed Johnson, who tested positive for the steroid Stanozolol after winning the 100m at the Olympics in Seoul.

"I look back and I made some mistakes. I was using steroids, but everyone was in the same level playing field. The person who is clean in this business is the person who doesn't make it.

"I was the victim of sabotage. Sure I took steroids but just to train, not to run fast. It doesn't enable me to run faster."

Johnson tried to make a comeback after being banned for four years following his positive test, but trailed home last in his semi-final at the 1992 Games.

He then tested positive again in March 1993 and was banned from athletics for life. He briefly coached Diego Maradona and was once hired by Colonel Gaddafi to train his son Al-Saadi.

"I enjoy my life whichever way it comes, it doesn't matter. My name will be cleared once this book comes out," said Johnson, who was born in Jamaica, but represented Canada.

"If you say I'm the biggest cheat, who do you think you are? You can't judge me. You are not the person to judge me.

"This book will set my soul free. There is no bad news in this book. It's a good book."

Since Johnson was disqualified, a number of other athletes - Briton Dwain Chambers as well as Americans Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery to name but a few - have been exposed as drug cheats.

see also
IOC to re-examine Beijing samples
09 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Conte labels Olympics 'a fraud'
06 May 08 |  Athletics
Ben Johnson drug case coach dies
12 May 10 |  Athletics
Drugs chief admits Olympic fears
07 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Sport awash with dopers - Johnson
01 Jan 06 |  Athletics
Johnson set for Olympic re-run
21 Dec 03 |  Athletics
Johnson: I'm still the best
24 Sep 03 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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