Track and Field

Ben Johnson: ESPN 30 for 30 Will Shed Light on Track's Doping Problem

25 Sep 1988:  Portrait of Ben Johnson of Canada between events at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. \ Mandatory Credit: Gray  Mortimore/Allsport
Gray Mortimore/Getty Images
Nicholas GossCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2012

Tuesday night's ESPN 30 for 30 titled 9.79* will help shed light on track and field's doping problem, which has been an issue in the sport for quite some time.

Canadian star Ben Johnson, who was one of the most talented Olympic athletes of his generation, is the subject of 9.79*.

He was forced to return the gold medal he won after dominating the field in the 100-meter final at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games because of a failed drug test. Twenty-four years after that 100-meter final, doping is still an unfortunate part of the sport.

Johnson's scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs has helped track and field officials realize the need for better drug testing to find athletes who had an unfair advantage.

If you check out USA Track and Field's doping suspensions page, you'll find that there are eight American athletes serving lifetime bans, and many more who are still unable to compete because of doping violations. Former Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones is one of the most notable names on the list.

We even saw a gold-medal winner from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London lose her title because of performance-enhancing drugs, according to NBC Olympic officials made a strong effort to identify the cheaters in London, as the passage below illustrates.

The IOC had said this would be its most extensive Olympic anti-doping program. It took almost 6,000 urine and blood samples, including no-notice tests ahead of athletes competing.

It doesn't matter how efficient the testing becomes or how many people get caught, doping will always be a problem in track and field because the time difference between winning the gold medal and not even making the medal stand is so small.

Therefore, athletes will always be looking to gain a slight advantage over their competition, and unfortunately, some of them accomplish this by choosing to cheat with PEDs.

Tuesday's broadcast of 9.79* will help showcase the problem that track and field has with doping, and why scandals involving PEDs hurt the sport.

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