Ben Johnson on drug-free sport: 'If anything, the problem has worsened'

From this week’s Newsmakers:

It was 25 years ago in Seoul that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won Olympic gold in the 100-m only to lose the medal and his reputation when he was found to be loaded with steroids.

In New York last week he spoke about the continuing problem of doping among elite athletes, the New York Times reports. “I’m a small part of a problem,” he said, while sitting beside former baseball star José Canseco, another admitted drug cheat.

“I’m sorry to say that the drugs overshadowed my great ability that God gifted me,” Johnson said in an event sponsored by Skins, a compression clothing company that campaigns for drug-free sport. That goal is a long ways off. If anything, the problem
has worsened, Johnson said.

“Just because an athlete didn’t test positive doesn’t mean they’re clean.”

Life goes on, the former sprinter said. “We’re only human. We make mistakes and try and move forward and try to change the way people think or feel about what we have done.”