Like Victor Conte, Ben Johnson news won’t go away. No matter how much of an anti-drug person you are (i.e. LetsRun.com) every time they make a media presence, they make noise.
And that noise may be irritating to you.
Who can forget Ben Johnson’s 9.79 in Seoul 1988? I’ll bet a lot of you folks want to forget it.
The reason why it’s etched in your memory bank (for us old folks) is Calvin Smith’s 9.93 was the WR to beat for the longest of time. Ben sliced that to 9.83 in Rome 1987 followed by his infamous 9.79 while showboating and slowing down a few steps. I extrapolated Johnson’s time to be 9.73 or 9.72, just like Usain Bolt’s 9.69 in Beijing could have been 9.63 or 9.64.
Enter Mo Green, Lanes 3-6
Enter Maurice Green. 11 years after the day in Seoul, another human being (drugs or no drugs) proved he could run 9.79 in legal conditions. (forget
Mr. Marion Jones Obadele Thompson’s wind aided 9.69)
On the left is Mo Green on the cover of the T&FN Sept 1999 issue.
After that race, he quoted his goal for 2000 was 9.69 WR and the Olympic Gold medal in Sydney 2000. Well, he accomplished half of his goals, and it’s always better to set your goals high, even if he never ran faster again.
Today, the World Record stands at 9.58 and Usain Bolt talks about lowering it to 9.4 where he’ll then become a legend. Unbelievable.
Looking back the past 12 years, other than Mo, who else have run under 9.79?
I count only 3 men, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, and they are all going to clash in Brussels this summer. (Like Ben Johnson 9.79, Justin Gatlin 9.77 and Tim Montgomery 9.78 have been annulled)
22 years ago, 9.79 was the Holy Grail of sprinting… to go under 9.80 where no (clean) man has ever gone before. Today, we expect a lot of out Usain Bolt or else we’ll take the remote control and change the sports channel to dog jumping, poker or even darts.
After 20+ years of technical advancement, better spikes, better training, better track surfaces, and better nutrition you would expect to see a lot more sub 9.8’s?
Is Usain Bolt (and Coach Glen Mills!) the only man to figure out the magic formula?
It’s like the 400m. 44 sec is the Holy Grail. Only 2 men in the past decade has dipped under that magic barrier, and one of them recently tested positive. (it’s up to you to interpret the results whether he really cheated or was simply plain stupid)