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How far has fight against doping really come since ‘dirtiest race in history’? | Sean Ingle


Exactly 30 years on from the Seoul Olympics 100m, the ineffectiveness of the anti-doping system remains a concern

Thirty years ago today, Ben Johnson crouched on his starting blocks before the 100m Olympic final in Seoul, waiting. A gun went off. And he went supernova. Even now there is a visceral thrill watching him burn off his rivals from between 30 to 70 metres – those tiny legs whirring at an almost impossible velocity, as if the race replay is being played at double speed, while they strain in vain to catch him – as he lifts one finger in the air in triumph.

After his lap of honour, Johnson was asked which he treasured more: his gold medal or a world record of 9.79 seconds. “The gold medal,” he replied. “Because they can’t take that away from you.”

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