Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson: I would have beaten Usain Bolt

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Doping-stained retired Canadian Olympian Ben Johnson said he’s the best sprinter of all time, greater than world record holder Usain Bolt.

Johnson crossed the finish line first in the 100 meters at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was later stripped after testing positive for steroids. He’s been doing media recently promoting an anti-doping campaign.

In a video published Friday, a BBC reporter asked Johnson if Bolt was the greatest of all time.

“Well, he’s an all-around sprinter, 100, 200 meters,” Johnson, now 51, told the BBC. “But, I think Ben Johnson is the best sprinter, 100 meter.”

The BBC reporter followed up, asking, “You could have beaten Usain Bolt, in your day, if he was racing then?”

“Oh yeah,” Johnson said. “They don’t have the power I have.”

Then, the BBC reporter finished the line of questioning with the perfect response.

“Well if everyone had been clean, it would have been quite a race to watch,” he said.

This wasn’t the first time Johnson spoke with such confidence on the subject. Take this from Telegraph story published Friday:

In Australia last year he was adamant he was the “greatest sprinter who ever lived”, while announcing that he would have lowered Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58 sec to 9.30. Does he stand by this? “Knowing what I do about what is going on out there, that is my answer,” he replies. “Technology has changed over the past 25 years.”

Johnson will take his anti-doping campaign back to Seoul on Sept. 24, the 25-year anniversary of his 100-meter final at the 1988 Olympics.

Video: Usain Bolt recovers to win 100 meters over Gatlin in Zurich

No NHL players means more mistakes and goals at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Hockey is a game of mistakes and it’s on display in fine form at the Olympics.

It doesn’t look beautiful, of course, with players all outside the NHL turning the puck over for point-blank scoring chances or leaving opponents wide open in front. The talent level is lower, so the risk factors and the entertainment level are up. Goaltenders have to be on their toes for unexpected, game-saving stops even more than usual.

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“It’s a short tournament: A few mistakes can decide your fate,” Finland goaltender Karri Ramo said Saturday. “You try to create more than carry it out of the zone, so obviously teams are trying to keep the puck and create scoring chances, so those mistakes happen. You’re not going to win if you play safe.”

There’s not a whole lot of safe, low-risk play so far, and scoring has increased as a result. After each team played twice, games were averaging 5.1 goals, up from 4.7 in Sochi with NHL players on the rosters.

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Ligety exits quietly, Hirscher brilliant again

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian ski god, is finally having his moment. King of the World Cup tour for the past seven seasons, on Sunday Hirscher won his second Olympic gold, in the giant slalom.

Hirscher had won a grand total of no Olympic medals, nada, zip, zero in two prior Games. Now he might — could, should — win three here at PyeongChang. The slalom, another Hirscher specialty, is due to be run Thursday.

To watch Hirscher ski is to watch one of the great athletes of our — or any — time. Like being courtside in Chicago to see Michael Jordan back in the day. At Wimbledon for a Roger Federer volley. At the Water Cube in Beijing in 2008 when Michael Phelps was swimming the butterfly.

In Sunday’s race, Kristoffersen finished second, 1.27 seconds back of Hirscher. Pinturault finished third, 1.31 behind.

American racer Ted Ligety used to own this event: the Sochi 2014 giant slalom gold medalist, he was world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Pinturault took Sochi 2014 bronze.

Considering his relatively low slalom ranking and the pounding that slalom demands, Sunday’s GS was — just like that, that quickly, that quietly — likely the final race of Ligety’s outstanding Olympic career.

“This is probably it for me at these Games,” he said after run two, adding that he is planning to head back to Europe, to race the remainder of the World Cup season.

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