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Ben Johnson: I would have beaten Usain Bolt

Aug 30, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT

Ben Johnson Getty Images

Doping-stained retired Canadian Olympian Ben Johnson said he’s the best sprinter of all time, greater than world record holder Usain Bolt.

Johnson crossed the finish line first in the 100 meters at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was later stripped after testing positive for steroids. He’s been doing media recently promoting an anti-doping campaign.

In a video published Friday, a BBC reporter asked Johnson if Bolt was the greatest of all time.

“Well, he’s an all-around sprinter, 100, 200 meters,” Johnson, now 51, told the BBC. “But, I think Ben Johnson is the best sprinter, 100 meter.”

The BBC reporter followed up, asking, “You could have beaten Usain Bolt, in your day, if he was racing then?”

“Oh yeah,” Johnson said. “They don’t have the power I have.”

Then, the BBC reporter finished the line of questioning with the perfect response.

“Well if everyone had been clean, it would have been quite a race to watch,” he said.

This wasn’t the first time Johnson spoke with such confidence on the subject. Take this from Telegraph story published Friday:

In Australia last year he was adamant he was the “greatest sprinter who ever lived”, while announcing that he would have lowered Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58 sec to 9.30. Does he stand by this? “Knowing what I do about what is going on out there, that is my answer,” he replies. “Technology has changed over the past 25 years.”

Johnson will take his anti-doping campaign back to Seoul on Sept. 24, the 25-year anniversary of his 100-meter final at the 1988 Olympics.

Video: Usain Bolt recovers to win 100 meters over Gatlin in Zurich

  1. jerseyshoregiant - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Ben when you were clean you couldn’t beat Carl Lewis let alone Usain Bolt

    • ezwriter69 - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      Before he started doping, he was mediocre, an also-ran. That’s what got people’s attention when he started winning… Loser, loser, loser.
      Incidentally, the same is absolutely true of FloJo, before her voice dropped an octave, she grew a little faint moustache, and added forty pounds of muscle, she was good, but hardly great; then, like Ben, in a year’s time, in her mid-twenties after a decade of running, she suddenly dropped more than a half a second off her hundred meter time, again identical to Ben.

    • inemesitg - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      You don’t actually think Carl Lewis was clean do you?

      • teddidouglas - Aug 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Not at all, Carl tested positive 3 times in 88 and they still allowed him to compete in the Olympics because he claimed he accidentally took a tainted supplement. Whatever. He’s worse than the other dopers because he’s been finger pointing at everyone else while he himself was dirty.

    • jeremylburnette - Mar 7, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      If you don’t think Bolt is using something as well, you are a fool.

  2. laffers - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Ben is delusional!

  3. mogogo1 - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    I saw video of him a couple weeks back, with his yellow eyes caused by all the roids he was on. No way would he have been able to fit enough more juice in his body to top Usain.

  4. kungfubowler - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Usain has some physical advantage due to his body size. His stride is long. I’m sure there are folks he races against that if they had a longer stride (e.g., they were taller). They might give him a better challenge.

    He’s probably got some great designer PEDs, too.

    • teddidouglas - Aug 31, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      If being tall was an advantage in the 100m, tall sprinters would have had the advantage in the last 100 years. They have not. Being tall is a hindrance in the 100m because the start and drive phases are much slower than the shorter sprinters. Bolt’s coach only put him in the 100m to increase his speed for the 200m since he was so set against the 400m as most deuce and/or tall runners do. And all the ‘experts’ thought it was stupid to do it that way.
      The only advantage Bolt has is that he has the same cadence of shorter runners so that that coupled with stride length gives him an advantage there. The issue? Until him, no tall runner has ever had the cadence of a shorter sprinter. Line up all the tallest sprinters in history and he would still win.
      I really despise when people talk about tall sprinters having an advantage because it’s a clear sign they have no idea what they are talking about and no idea about the biomechanics of sprinting. Your comment about tall sprinters giving him a challenge is proof positive you know nothing about the other competitors in this sport. Ryan Bailey is exactly Bolt’s height and there is no competition. Francis Obikwelu is 6’3″. What were his PB’s and the outcome when he lined up against Bolt? Do a little research, learn something before you go running off at the mouth. And considering you have no clue about what you are talking about re tall runners, we’ll just go ahead and ignore the asinine PEDs comment too.

  5. rayburns - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    He lost me when he referred to himself in the 3rd Person…

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Nothanksimdriving agrees with you!

  6. rayala3 - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Ben, what you on now?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Ray, Ben’s comment would suggest industrial strength hallucinogens.

  7. jimsjam33 - Aug 31, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    I could have beat him too !

  8. teddidouglas - Aug 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Why is Ben Johnson being given any attention in the first place? The man is a walking disgrace. Reporters need to start hitting him with hard questions instead of the constant fluff pieces. One question that should be asked is that if he was so naturally talented and such a great sprinter, why did he need to take steroids to win in the first place? If he was really that good, why the pharmaceuticals? Spare me. He needs to crawl back in his hole and stay there. He’s nothing but an embarrassment. He could have shown some amount of humility and tried to salvage his credibility. Instead, for the last decade all he’s been doing is going around giving interviews on how great and wonderful he is. Both he and Carl Lewis just need to go away. Their time ended decades ago and they keep talking about Usain for no other reason than to get their names in the news. God knows otherwise no one would care about anything they had to say.

  9. whothephuckru - Aug 31, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    What a dope(r).

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