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Johnson Took Steroids Since 1981, Coach Testifies at Canada Inquiry

From Associated Press

Disqualified Olympic sprint champion Ben Johnson knowingly took banned steroids and has since 1981, his coach testified today at a federal inquiry into Canada’s greatest sports scandal.

The coach, Charlie Francis, said he helped set up a steroid program for Johnson and others.

Asked if he believed Johnson and other runners in his track club had followed through with the program, Francis replied:

“Yes, I believe they had taken them and taken them as directed.”

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Johnson, 27, has consistently denied that he knowingly took the steroids found in his urine sample after he won the 100-meter dash in Seoul.

Francis said five of his track stars, including Johnson and sprinter Angella Issajenko, used the banned substances. He also suggested--without naming her--that American Florence Griffith Joyner, a triple gold medalist in Seoul, has used the muscle-building drugs.

The other steroid users on his track team, Francis said, were Desai Williams, Tony Sharpe and Molly Killingbeck.

Francis, testifying on the second day of the inquiry, said he began working with Issajenko on a steroid program in 1979 after examining international competition.

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“Every parameter indicated I couldn’t find a single case where it appeared performance-enhancing drugs were not being used,” he said.

Francis said the rate at which records fell would be unimaginable without steroids.


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