Ben Johnson, the Canadian sprinter stripped of a 1988 Olympic gold medal for doping, is continuing to make headlines on his new anti-doping crusade.
The latest came Thursday, when he made comments about his 1980s rival, American Carl Lewis.
“We know several times before the Olympic Games he tested positive,” Johnson told Fox Sports in Australia. “And for him preaching the word that he’s clean and working with kids, I challenge him to come on this campaign, tell the truth, tell the world that he has used performance enhancing drugs.
“He would be ashamed but he would be a man to come forward and we can work together. If he can’t come face to face we know what he is. He is not a man.”
Johnson has made similar comments about Lewis before.
Lewis is the second-most decorated Olympic track and field athlete of all time with 10 medals, nine of them gold. One of those golds is the 1988 Olympic 100-meter title, awarded to Lewis after Johnson was stripped.
“Ben Johnson is 100% wrong,” Lewis’ long-time manager, Joe Douglas, said in an email. “Carl did not take steroids and he never tested positive for steroids.”
Ten years ago, Lewis confirmed reports he tested positive three times at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials for small amounts of banned stimulants. Lewis said he accidentally consumed the banned substances via cold medication. The U.S. Olympic Committee at first disqualified him, then accepted his appeal based on inadvertent use, according to The Associated Press.
Johnson then asked for Lewis to be stripped of his 1988 Olympic medals.
“(He) tested positive several times but he’s been protected,” Johnson told Fox Sports. “Because he’s American.
“I have a clear conscience. For me that is No. 1. He has to live with that conscience and that conscience is a lie and he knows that.”
Johnson has said he and Lewis don’t like each other.
“I am not afraid of Carl,” he told Fox Sports. “He is not going to come forward because he is not a man.”
Former 100-meter world record holder and University of Houston track and field coach Leroy Burrell said Thursday that Lewis was joining the Cougars’ staff as a volunteer coach.