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  Monday, 31 July, 2000, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Drugs in world athletics
Ben Johnson wins 100m in 1988
Tainted win: Johnson (second left) wins in Seoul
Drugs have provided the world of athletics with a fierce opponent ever since the emergence of systematic forms of doping in eastern Europe.

But the most famous case in history is that involving a westerner - Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson.

He won the 100 metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a world record time but was later stripped of his gold medal and banned for two years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

Ben Johnson
Johnson was banned for life after second test in 1993
A life ban from the track followed in March 1993 when he gave another positive test.

Since then he has made an unsuccessful attempt to get back into the Canadian team for the 2000 Olympics.

There have also been some bizarre stunts such as a race with two horses and car for charity. The animals beat him although the car was stalled by wheelspin.

Johnson has recently worked as personal fitness trainer for footballer Said Gaddafi, son of Libyan president Colonel Muamar Gadaffi.

Meanwhile an incident in which a mugger took his wallet and outran him showed that the 38-year-old does not have the speed he once possessed.

High jumper caught

The most high-profile case not to involve nandrolone in recent years is that of Cuba's Javier Sotomayor, who was stripped of his gold medal last year.

The high jumper tested positive for cocaine, a mainly recreational drug which also has performance-enhancing characteristics.

The test came at the Pan American Games in Canada, where Sotomayor was the third gold medalist athlete to test positive for banned substances.

Steve Vezina, Canada's roller hockey goalie, tested positive for nandrolone. and women's high jumper Juana Arrendel was stripped of her medal after testing positive for stanozolol.


The experts have confirmed that a man with the quantity of cocaine found in the urine of Sotomayor would not have been able to stand upright
CAF president Alberto Juantorena
But it was the case of 1997 world champion and 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Sotomayor which grabbed the headlines, although it was initially not reported on Cuba's state-run media.

The athlete said the sample was manipulated as part of a plot, and the Cuban Athletics Federation backed up their man.

CAF president Alberto Juantorena said "a very precise study of the affair" had shown that the substance could not have enhanced his performance.

Javier Sotomayor
Sotomayor: Ruled out of 2000 Olympics
"The experts have confirmed that a man with the quantity of cocaine found in the urine of Sotomayor would not have been able to stand upright," said Juantorena.

"He would therefore have jumped even less high."

The IAAF did not agree, and Sotomayor's ban ruled him out of the Sydney Olympics.

Days before Sotomoyaor's test last year, Dennis Mitchell, the US 100m champion and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, was banned for two years after a test showed high levels of testosterone.

He had originally escaped a ban, apparently after claiming that the high levels of the substance were a result of having sex at least four times the night before and drinking five bottles of beer.

The IAAF did not accept this and overturned the original US decision to clear Mitchell.

Another American who failed a test during the 1990s was Harry 'Butch' Reynolds, the 400 metres world record-holder when he was given a two-year ban in 1990.

Reynolds
Butch Reynolds: Shortened ban
He succeeded in getting his suspension lifted after only eight months, but failed when he took legal action to claim 18m damages.

Another case involved German athletes Katrin Krabbe, Grit Breuer and Silke Moeller.

They provided identical urine samples at a training camp in South Africa but were cleared on a technicality.

Krabbe and Breuer were subsequently banned for one year each after failing another test.

But the worst cases in German athletics history are undoubtedly from an earlier era, and from behind what was once the Iron Curtain.

In July 2000, former East German sporting supremo Manfred Ewald was found guilty of doping more than 100 young athletes.

He was given a suspended prison sentence of 22 months. Former East German sports medical officer, Manfred Hoppner, 66, was given an 18-month suspended sentence at the same time.

The two were charged with complicity in causing bodily harm to young athletes.

During the two-month trial a number of athletes and swimmers testified to having suffered from health problems as a result of using the anabolic steroids.

Witnesses included former shot-putter Andreas Krieger, who as Heidi Krieger won the 1986 European Championship.

She then had a sex-change after years of injections of male hormones.

See also:

17 Oct 98 | Sport
05 Aug 99 | Sport
27 Jun 00 | Sport
13 Jul 00 | Athletics
28 Jul 98 | Sport
21 Jan 99 | Sport
18 Jul 00 | Other Sports
Links to more Drugs in Sport stories are at the foot of the page.


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