Tonight ESPN’s 30 for 30 will feature one of the most controversial events in sports history. What was supposed to be Canada’s and former sprinter Ben Johnson’s greatest achievement in history, ended up becoming the biggest black mark in Ben Johnson’s career; as well as one still discussed over 24 years since the event took place in Seoul Korea. Perhaps the idea to keep in mind is that during the period of time, drug testing for athletes after an Olympic event was not a common practice; however this race would change the everything. Most notable is the fact that Ben Johnson was not the only person that was using a banned substance in the Olympic game that year; it was revealed by Sports Illustrated in 2003, that American sprinter Carl Lewis whom ran that race and earned a silver medal, he tested positive for banned substances in Olympic qualifying; however, he was allowed to continue competing under the basis that he was unaware that he was taking a banned substance. In addition, former British sprinter Linford Christie who ran that 100m final alongside Ben and Carl Lewis, also tested positive for a banned substance after that race according to a BBC report in 2009; however his punishment did not come until 1999. In retrospect, that 1988 100m final in Seoul Korea may quite possibly be the most unclean, unnatural events to have ever taken place, but it also begs the following question; why was Ben Johnson made the scapegoat for what others were guilty of doing, and how come Ben was not given the same concession as Carl Lewis and Lindford Christie? But the biggest question of them all is what is Ben Johnson’s true legacy? Do Canadian still remember him as the man that won multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 and was once considered the best sprinter in the world, or will his legacy forever be etched in that 100m race in Soeul Korea? For those who want to witness one of the most important events in the 20th century, tune in to ESPN’s 30 for 30‘s 9.79.
Canadians can tune in to TSN at 8:30 PM to watch ESPN 30 For 30 Films: 9.79