THE SEOUL GAMES / DAY 11 : Johnson Stripped of Medal: Drugs : He Tests Positive for Steriods; IOC Gives Lewis Win

Associated Press

Ben Johnson was stripped Tuesday of his record-setting victory in the 100-meter dash after testing positive for steroids, and the Olympic gold medal was awarded to American Carl Lewis.

The news blackened what had been the brightest moment of the Seoul Olympics and revived Lewis' bid for an unprecedented second sweep of four golds: the 100 and 200-meter dashes, the long jump and the 400-meter relay. He won the long jump Monday.

International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Michele Verdier said traces of stanozolol, a water-based anabolic steroid generally thought almost impossible to detect, were found in Johnson's urine sample after Saturday's race. The IOC executive board unanimously approved its medical commission's recommendation that the medal be withdrawn.

Johnson, the third athlete in this Olympics to be stripped of a gold medal, flew to New York, leaving Olympic officials shaken and his coaches stunned. The Canadian sprinter is automatically suspended from international competition for two years.

"This is a blow for the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement," IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said in a statement. "However, it shows that the IOC was right in the firm stand it has adopted to keep the Games clean."

"The case of Ben Johnson is extremely grave," said Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden, the medical committee chairman of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, track and field's governing body.

Johnson's manager, Larry Heidebrecht, said the positive test was the "the biggest shock" of Johnson's life.

"The only thing we can say at this stage is that it is a tragedy, a mistake or a sabotage," Heidebrecht said. "Up to five days before the race, Ben was in perfect condition. Something has happened in those days.

"We do not know what happened and how it happened, but apparently somebody has sabotaged Ben and we will find out who it was and how it was done."

Heidebrecht said someone--an official or volunteer--gave Johnson a bottle of a Gatorade-like drink before the semifinals or final--he was unsure which--and Johnson drained it.

His doctor later saw a "yellow gooey substance" at the bottom of the bottle, noticed it smelled odd and rinsed it out, Heidebrecht said.

"I think he's a very trusting young man who put himself in a spot where perhaps he's created a lot of problems for himself," Heidebrecht said.

Verdier, however, said, "The steroid profile is not consistent with such a claim."

"I think when someone is accused, he tries to defend himself," Merode said. "It is his duty to defend himself."

Dr. Robert Dugal, a Canadian member of the IOC medical commission, called the drug "one of the most dangerous anabolic steroids. It has the effect of leading to a number of disturbances of the liver, including cancer."

He and Alexander de Merode, medical commission chairman from Belgium, both said stanozolol had the reputation of being undetectable.

"But since 1980 we have been able to detect it very well," Merode said. "Science makes progress and day after day we are able to close the gap."

Johnson, who had been recovering from a hamstring injury suffered last winter and aggravated in May, beat Lewis in an astonishing 9.79 seconds, four-hundredths of a second under his own world record set at the 1987 World Championships in Rome. Lewis was second in an American-record 9.92 seconds.

With Johnson disqualified, an IAAF spokesman said Lewis moves up to first, Britain's Lindford Christie gets the silver and American Calvin Smith the bronze.

A Canadian team staff member, Diane Clement, said at the time that Johnson had to wait more than an hour--and put down several bottles of beer--before he could produce a post-race drug test.

Pat Reid, a Canadian high jump coach, said Johnson passed a drug test four weeks ago in Zurich.

"The same test. It was clean," Reid said. "We feel sick about it. The whole world feels sick about it."

Lewis, his chances revived for a second sweep of four Olympic gold medals, said in a statement that "if there is an incident, I am deeply sorry" and declined any further comment.

Johnson was the seventh athlete and third gold medalist to test positive at the Seoul Games. Officials had predicted 15 positive tests among the almost 10,000 athletes.

Bulgarian gold-medal weightlifters Angel Guenchev, who broke three world records in the 148 1/2-pound class, and Mitko Grablev were suspended for use of furosemide, a diuretic intended for quick weight loss. In each case, the silver medalist was declared the winner.

Diuretics also can be used to mask the presence of illegal drugs, such as muscle-building steroids, by diluting urine samples.

Weightlifters Kalman Csengeri of Hungary and Fernando Mariaca of Spain were suspended earlier in the Games, Csengeri for the steroid testosterone and Mariaca for amphetamines.

Csengeri was fourth in the 165-pound class and Mariaca 13th in the 148 1/2-pound class.

In addition, Jorge Quesada of Spain had been expelled after testing positive for use of a drug aimed at steadying his shooting hand.

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