Upon reflection, Carl Lewis’ Canadian legal representative said Tuesday that he did not believe Ben Johnson’s coach meant to implicate Lewis in an alleged conspiracy to sabotage Johnson’s drug test at the Seoul Olympics.
“If he had wanted to imply something, he would have done it directly,” said Tim Danson, who had previously represented Johnson.
On Monday, Danson accused Johnson’s coach, Charlie Francis, of attempting to malign Lewis in testimony before a Canadian commission of inquiry into drug use by athletes. Francis had speculated that a stranger in the doping-control area, who could have spiked Johnson’s drink before he was tested, had spoken with Lewis in the room.
“If it was an effort to besmirch Carl’s reputation, it hasn’t been done,” Danson said. “But I don’t think Mr. Francis was trying to do that. It would be unrealistic to think that you can have a hearing of this length and not have a slip, an unfortunate combination of words. After four days on the witness stand, he was tired.”
Lewis said in a statement Tuesday: “I feel the allegations are ridiculous.”
Joe Douglas, Lewis’ manager, said in a statement: “Due to the sensitive nature of the proceedings, Carl and I feel it is best not to comment further at this time so as not to risk prejudicing the inquiry.”
Danson also said that the commission’s co-counsel, Robert P. Armstrong, will interview Lewis in Los Angeles before the end of the month to determine whether the U.S. sprinter will be asked to testify.
“They will discuss whether it will aid the inquiry for Carl to give direct testimony,” Danson said.