| A thousand emotions seemed crowded on his mind.
An embarrassment flashed across Ben Johnson`s face as he looked at the Dong-A llbo`s article released on Sept. 24, 1988 headlined "Ben Johnson, world record 9.79 seconds," and another article titled "Ben Johnson is stripped of gold for drug taking" on Sept. 27. The Canadian sprinter had won the 100-meter men`s final with a world-record time of 9.79 seconds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was stripped of the medal after he tested positive for a banned steroid. After 25 years, he is now promoting an anti-doping campaign.
At Ritz Carlton Hotel in southern Seoul on Tuesday, Johnson said he was stripped of gold medal, world record and reputation due to doping, adding, "I was nailed on a cross, and 25 years later I`m still being punished." He had a look of contrition.
Back then, Johnson had broke his previous 9.83 second record made a year ago, and won gold beating Carl Lewis who had a 9.92 second record. However, the International Olympic Committee denied his gold medal informing that he tested positive for anabolic steroid. He had to leave the track in disgrace. Dong-A Ilbo reporter Lee Jae-ho was the first reporter to know Johnson`s drug doping at midnight on Sept. 26, and had a scoop on its regional edition (back then the Dong-A Ilbo was an evening newspaper). Agonizing on how to handle the matter, the International Olympic Committee announced it in early morning on Sept. 27. Gold medal went to Lewis.
Johnson said he had never imagined promoting an anti-doping campaign 25 years ago, adding many things have happened thus far and that he will never be able to forget what had happened in Seoul. He said he was happy that he returned to Seoul for a good purpose.
Johnson came to Seoul for a "Choose Right Track" anti-doping campaign being promoted by Australian sports clothing brand Skins. He had visited Seoul in 2008 to film a documentary "9.79*" of British film director Daniel Gordon. The documentary contains interviews of eight runners at the 100 meter men`s final at Seoul Olympics and focuses on whether Johnson was the only runner who made mistakes.
Johnson`s campaign aims to have various international organizations join anti-doping promotion by attracting global supporting fans for anti-doping. It receives petitions for eradicating doping at its homepage (www.puresport.skins.net) and also gets funding. At Seoul Jamsil Stadium on Tuesday, Johnson held a doping eradication event by unrolling a 100-meter scroll made through 4,000 petitions at Track Lane 6 (the lane he had run in the 1988 Seoul Olympics). He will go to Rosanne, Switzerland, Wednesday to deliver the petitions to the International Olympic Committee. Before visiting Seoul he toured the U.K., Canada and Japan for first-stage campaign. He came to Seoul on "the very" day to attract global attention.