No, I am not referring to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Did you know that this album was the first to include lyrics to all the songs? It was printed on the back cover and the entire music industry copied this trend shortly thereafter.
With Usain Bolt’s 9.69 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and his chest thumping slow down over the last 20 meters, we have all forgotten about the other showdown that occurred exactly 20 years ago today: September 24, 1988.
But have we forgotten about this magical race?
In short, no.
Carl Lewis recently had some harsh egotistical comments in his latest Sports Illustrated interview.
Every once in a while, we still hear reports about Ben Johnson, Masters comebacks, scandals, and conspiracy theories.
Here is another one of those scandals from TimesOnLine.co.uk that appeared yesterday… 20 years after the fact.
Maybe the 1988 Olympic 100 meters will appear on the “Unsolved Mysteries” TV show?
OF ALL the stories uncovered by Ben Johnsonâ€™s positive drugs tests, few were more curious that the mystery man seated alongside the Canadian sprinter in the waiting-room at the main stadium as he was preparing to give his urine sample. Supporters of Johnson seized on this astonishing lapse of security to claim that there had been sabotage. They argued that the sprinter had been deliberately given stanozolol, the anabolic steroid, possibly slipped into the beer he was drinking so that he could produce the urine specimen.
For Charlie Francis, Johnsonâ€™s coach, it was the only rational reason for the positive test for stanozolol because he believed, wrongly, that his athlete was taking furazabol, which needed about 14 days to clear the body, rather than stanozolol, which required about 28 days.
Johnson and the mystery man were pictured together in the waiting-room, chatting to each other. They had met before in a Zurich nightclub, where both were attracted to the same girl. So Johnson, who was accompanied to the waiting area by Waldemar Matuszewski, his physiotherapist, talked to the man, much later revealed to be AndrÃ© Jackson, an American. It was a remarkable breach of drug-testing protocol that any person who was not officially accredited had succeeded in entering the waiting-room for competitors preparing to give their samples, particularly in such a high-profile event as the 100 metres.
In the immediate aftermath of Johnson being disqualified, there was a hunt for the mystery manâ€, with one Canadian offering $10,000 (about Â£6,000) if he would come forward. What Johnson did not know and has only subsequently been revealed is that Jackson, an athletics follower who travelled the world attending events, was a friend of Carl Lewis.
In his book, Inside Track, Lewis states: Iâ€™m not sure how AndrÃ© got into the drug-testing area. Either he had one of my passes for admission to the area or he got one from an Olympic official. The passes were amazingly easy to get, considering how strict the overall security was. Anyway, I was surprised when I looked in the waiting area and saw AndrÃ© sitting with Ben. Once I had provided my urine sample, I left the drug-testing room and found AndrÃ© to ask him what was going on.â€
Jackson said he was just waiting for Lewis and also to see what happened in the drug-testing area. However, when Matuszewski then began using a machine to relieve Johnson of the leg cramps from which he was suffering, Jackson decided to stay. Lewis wrote: He (Jackson) had heard me and others on the track circuit talk about Ben doing drugs and he was suspicious about this machine. AndrÃ© had seen the therapist carry a black medical bag into the room and he wanted to make sure that the therapist did not give Ben anything more than a rub-down before Ben urinated into his drug-test bottle.â€
Sabotage was rejected by the IOC medical commission, but the Dubin inquiry later examined whether the positive finding was the result of the actions of the stranger, whose identity was unknown at that stage, in the doping control room. They interviewed the Canadians who were with Johnson in the waiting-room but said that there was no evidence that this stranger had administered any drug to Johnson.
Neverthless, it is curious that a friend of the athlete who had the most to gain in financial and prestige terms from Johnson being found positive should have been sitting with the Canadian as he was drinking liquid in an attempt to provide the urine specimen, the result of which would be the biggest sports story of our time.