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The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the Olympic 100m Finalby Richard Moore
Synopses & Reviews
The 1988 Seoul Olympics played host to what has been described by some as the dirtiest race of all time, by others as the greatest. The final of the men's 100 metres at those Olympics is certainly the most infamous in the history of athletics, and more indelibly etched into the consciousness of the sport, the Olympics, and a global audience of millions, than any other athletics event before or since.
Ben Johnson's world-record time of 9.79 seconds - as thrilling as it was - was the beginning rather than the end of the story. Following the race, Johnson tested positive, news that generated as many - if not more - shockwaves as his fastest ever run. He was stripped of the title, Lewis was awarded the gold medal, Linford Christie the silver and Calvin Smith the bronze.
More than two decades on, the story still hadn't ended. In 1999 Lewis was named Sportsman of the Century by the IOC, and Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Yet his reputation was damaged by revelations that he too used performance-enhancing drugs, and tested positive prior to the Seoul Olympics. Christie also tested positive in Seoul but his explanation, that the banned substance had been in ginseng tea, was accepted. Smith, now a lecturer in English literature at a Florida university, was the only athlete in the top five whose reputation remains unblemished - the others all tested positive at some stage in their careers.
Containing remarkable new revelations, this book uses witness interviews - with Johnson, Lewis and Smith among others - to reconstruct the build-up to the race, the race itself, and the fallout when news of Johnson's positive test broke and he was forced into hiding. It also examines the rivalry of the two favourites going into it, and puts the race in a historical context, examining its continuing relevance on the sport today, where every new record elicits scepticism.
The men's 100m final at the 1988 Olympics has been described as the dirtiest race ever - but also the greatest. Aside from Johnson's blistering time, the race is infamous for its athletes' positive drug tests. This is the story of that race, the rivalry between Johnson and Lewis, and the repercussions still felt almost a quarter of a century on.
The 1988 Seoul Olympics hosted what has been described as both "the dirtiest race of all time" and "the greatest track event in history." The unforgettable mens 100 meter race has become infamous for the elation of breaking a seemingly impossible world record for human speed and for the doping scandal that followed. This book is a groundbreaking investigative account into the story of Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis, and how one of the oldest of Olympic sports became a complex high-stakes game of cheating, cover-up, and fallen heroes.
The book follows the remarkable buildup to the showdown of the two rival track superstars and chronicles Johnsons gold medal win, a title he retained only briefly before he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and Lewis was awarded the gold. In 1999, however, after being named Sportsman of the Century by the IOC, Lewis his credibility damaged by revelations that he, too, used performance-enhancing drugs and tested positive prior to the Seoul Olympics.
Containing stunning new revelations, this book features candid witness interviews, including with Johnson and Lewis, to reconstruct the race, the hype, the drugs, and the deception, and it examines how the fallout continues to impact sports today, as every new record is met with widespread skepticism.
About the Author
Richard Moore is an award-winning sports journalist with several books to his name, including In Search of Robert Millar and Heroes, Villains and Velodromes.
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