Manual The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final

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He also highlights the backlash to Lewis delaying his entry into the Olympic Stadium with Michael Jordan and explains how Lewis's absence from the Olympic Village further alienated him from his team-mates. Lewis was booed after only jumping once in the long jump final; and, astonishingly, some of the American press called him the "Flying Faggot", due to rumours about his sexuality. It was of course poppycock. Moore informs us that none of the big brands came in for Lewis, even though he had emulated Jesse Owens' achievement of four golds.

If Lewis was to continue to pull money in, then he would need to do so through appearance fees at European meetings. Johnson's emergence from the pack to challenge Lewis' supremacy would cause the American a lot of pain and angst through the years, but he would openly admit that the growing rivalry between the pair earned him fantastic riches.

The second part of the book deals with the clashes between the duo, in particular charting the races between Johnson and Lewis from , the first time the Canadian beat the Olympic champion. Moore's chapter title sums up the score at the time: "Lewis 8, Johnson 1". But, from Johnson's maiden triumph at the Zurich Weltklasse meeting in August , things began to change.

The final win of Johnson's four consecutive victories over Lewis before the World Championships in Rome in came in Seville.

Disillusioned Calvin Smith suspects little has changed since Seoul’s tainted m final | The Times

It was a feisty affair that Johnson won by 0. The row became heated and the pair had to be separated by Mel Lattany, a former American sprinter. It is another insight into how the pair had grown to dislike each other. What was clear at the time, and is accurately portrayed in Moore's version of events, is the growing sense of injustice felt by Lewis post-Rome.

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Johnson destroyed Lewis by a tenth of a second to win the world title, setting a new world record in the process, and despite the possible accusations Lewis may have faced about sour grapes, he decided that he had to speak out. With the success came new challenges for Johnson.

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In , he would split from Francis over differences of opinions about training, although eventually the two would get back together to plot Johnson's attempt at gold in Seoul. A hamstring injury threatened to ruin Johnson's preparations, and an ever expanding entourage surrounded him as never before, with the growing influence of Astaphan a key part of the tale. Lewis had problems of his own, however, not that we knew this at the time. Unbeknown to the general public until , Lewis had failed a drugs test at the US Olympic trials, his urine sample containing banned stimulants.

Although the volume of substances found in Lewis' urine would not bring a ban today, at the time he should have been kicked off of the Olympic team. The Americans managed to clear him on appeal, under inadvertent usage, yet how different would sporting history have been if Lewis, who had been spent the last year dropping strong hints about his rivals' drug use, had been prevented from running in Seoul due to a failed test? Naturally the book moves towards the final showdown, yet Moore manages to pace the arrival at the starting blocks in Seoul superbly.

At no point are you thinking "just cut to the chase", as you realise that you are reading a crucial part of the narrative in the lead-up to the Olympic final.


In the decade since, as Bolt smiled and clowned around on the start line, and smashed record after record, the crowds started to come back, as did some of the belief. People also appreciated his grace and lack of arrogance as he conquered the world. It will be of his last race — the close-up shots of his shoulders tightening and the near-wince on his face as he tried to find that final surge that had so often left competitors in his wake.

But most of all, she should see how this man — who had buried one of his closest friends just months earlier — swallowed that disappointment, and went up to Gatlin and congratulated him, before acknowledging every corner of a stadium that had come to watch his last individual race. He melded greatness and grace. It was ennobling. And quite heartbreaking.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www. Read more on Usain Bolt. Justin Gatlin. Ben Johnson. Magic Johnson. Carl Lewis. Follow us on.

Ben Johnson Olympic final 1988

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The Dirtiest Race In History

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