Skip to content

Ben Johnson returns to Seoul Olympic Stadium on 25-year anniversary (photos)

Sep 24, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT

Ben Johnson AP

Ben Johnson lined up at the Seoul Olympic Stadium again Tuesday. This time, he ran nowhere near as fast as in the 1988 Olympics.

On Sept. 24, 1988, the Canadian won the Olympic 100-meter final in a then-world record 9.79 seconds. He was stripped of that gold medal three days later, having tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.

“It feels good to be back,” Johnson, promoting an anti-doping campaign, told Agence France-Presse as he stepped out onto the Seoul track.

“This is where history was made. Some might call it bad history, but I don’t see it that way.”

On Tuesday, at precisely 1:30 pm, Johnson stood at the starting point on Lane 6 — his lane in the final — and strolled down the track he burned up in 1988.

As he walked, two volunteers unrolled in his path a 100-meter long petition with 3,700 signatures the campaign has collected over the past month.

At the finish line, he recreated the famous finger-raised pose he struck at the moment of victory 25 years ago.

“I was nailed on a cross, and 25 years later I’m still being punished,” Johnson told AFP. “Rapists and murderers get sent to prison, but even they get out eventually.

“I know what I did was wrong. Rules are rules. But the rules should be the same for all. But politics always plays in sports.”

source:

Ben Johnson poses with his foot print in wet cement at the Seoul Olympic Stadium on Tuesday. (AP)

Johnson has been on a worldwide media tour promoting anti-doping in recent weeks.

He said he would have beaten Usain Bolt and then called out his former rival, Carl Lewis, the American who was promoted to gold after Johnson was stripped.

Most recently, Johnson expressed sympathy for the doping-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

“We are all human beings,” Johnson told insidethegames. “We all make mistakes in life. I feel for him.

“Hopefully he will overcome the situation — but it’s going to be tough for quite a while. I should know.

“It’s a situation you have to live with all the time. I wish him the best.”

The 1988 100-meter final has become known as one of the dirtiest races in history. The first three men to cross the finish line — Johnson, Lewis and Britain’s Linford Christie – all failed drug tests in 1988, but only Johnson’s result was wiped out.

Reuters published a story Monday highlighting the man who crossed fourth, American Calvin Smith, who has said, “I should have been the gold medalist.”

Here’s AFP video with footage of Johnson on the Seoul track on Tuesday.

How did Lewis spend the 25-year anniversary?

Usain Bolt reconsiders retirement plans

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Phelps arrested on DUI charges

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The 22-time Olympic medalist was pulled over in Maryland overnight.

  2. U.S. women’s basketball team beats Angola by 75 points

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT

    Tina Charles Getty Images

    U.S.’ previous biggest blowout was 70 points over Senegal.

  3. Lauryn Williams ‘playing with the idea’ of bobsled this season

    Sep 30, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT

    Lauryn Williams Getty Images

    Summer and Winter Olympian previously said she was all but retired.

  4. Lindsey Vonn set for first skiing in 10 months, named 2016 Youth Olympics ambassador

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

    Lindsey Vonn Getty Images

    Vancouver downhill champion expected to ski in Austria on Wednesday.

  5. Patrick Chan eyes return to competition in 2015-16

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Patrick Chan Getty Images

    Canadian joins long list of skaters sitting out this season.

  6. Katinka Hosszu wins record 10 golds in 2 days at FINA World Cup

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    Katinka Hosszu Getty Images

    Hungarian matched her Monday output on Tuesday but lacked top competition.

  7. Mikaela Shiffrin gets her own street in Vail

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Mikaela Shiffrin

    Olympic slalom champion also gave an update on her 2014-15 plans.

  8. Talk of a sub-two-hour marathon

    Sep 29, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT

    Dennis Kimetto Getty Images

    Dennis Kimetto’s record-smashing win in Berlin brings the barrier into closer view.

  9. ISU wants synchronized figure skating in Winter Olympics

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Synchronized Skating Getty Images

    ISU asks for synchronized skating and a new speed skating event for 2018.

  10. Yevgeny Plushenko wants to prove he ‘is not a coward’

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT

    Yevgeny Plushenko Getty Images

    Plushenko received criticism for withdrawing at Sochi Olympics.

  11. Dennis Kimetto breaks world record at Berlin Marathon (video)

    Sep 28, 2014, 5:40 AM EDT

    Dennis Kimetto Getty Images

    Third Kenyan in four years to break the record in Berlin.

  12. Brittney Griner leads U.S. past early China test in Worlds opener

    Sep 27, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

    2014 WNBA Finals - Game One Getty Images

    Griner played her first game in a Team USA uniform in three years.

  13. Gracie Gold third at Nebelhorn Trophy

    Sep 27, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT

    Gracie Gold Getty Images

    U.S. champion shaky in season debut.

  14. Jason Brown wins Nebelhorn Trophy

    Sep 26, 2014, 4:39 PM EDT

    Jason Brown Getty Images

    First senior international victory for the U.S. Olympian.

  15. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross eliminated in final tournament of 2014

    Sep 26, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT

    Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Getty Images

    Walsh/Ross go into 2015 with no match experience against upstart Brazilian threat.