SEOUL (AFP) – Disgraced drugs cheat Ben Johnson will revisit the scene of his downfall this month, wrapping up a global anti-doping tour in the Seoul Olympic stadium where he won his steroid-assisted 100m gold.
The Canadian sprinter will visit the stadium on September 24 — the 25th anniversary of his run in the 1988 Olympic final in which he stormed to victory in a world record time of 9.79sec.
Three days later he was stripped of his medal, his time and ultimately his career after it was announced that he had tested positive for stanozolol, a banned anabolic steroid.
Johnson is now heading up the #ChooseTheRightTrack campaign, which calls for new strategies to combat continued drug use in athletics.
”On the 25th anniversary of my greatest and also my worst moment in history, I’m on a mission for change,” Johnson said in an open letter on the campaign’s website.
”Athletes’ perceptions need to change. The system needs to change. Sport needs to change – before it’s too late,” he said.
Athletics has recently been rocked by a string of doping cases, including high-profile athletes like Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
The sport’s world governing body, the IAAF, announced last month that it would impose four-year bans for drug offenders from 2015.
”I was a drugs cheat and I only have myself to blame. I put chemicals inside my body without fully appreciating what it might do,” Johnson said.
”It ruined my career. It ruined my reputation. It ruined my life,” he added.