Ben Johnson was born in Jamaica in 1961, but later, in 1976, when he was 15 years old, he migrated to Canada with his mother. They settled in Ontario, and it is exactly while in Canada Johnson discovered his talent for sprinting (The Famous People 4). This in time made him to meet Charlie Francis who became his coach. It is also at this point when Johnson began to use drugs that could boost his strength hence ability to sprint better. Charlie Francis believed that no one could sprint without doping. This is because the majority of sprinters of that time used drugs in order to run faster. Johnson participated in various events including 100 meters and 200 meters races and won various awards but later his use of doping was discovered, making him lose his chance to participate further on. Besides, some of his awards were also taken from him. Ben Johnson showed both good characteristics and confidence in his life off sport. However, using drugs to boost his competitive advantage ruined him as an athlete.

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Johnson had been a caring person since he was young and throughout his life. In late 1990s Johnson lived with his mother Gloria and would take her sick to the church no matter how busy he could be. After his mother later died, he was made to take his sister in with him to stay. This was even more surprising as all this happened when he was facing major challenges, the largest of them being the ban from participating in sprinting. His character as a loving man is also seen when he tries to help others realize their talents. For example, he started coaching others, including athletes in Saudi Arabia and Libya, who wanted to become soccer players. Later, he went to Italy to coach soccer himself.

Although everyone makes mistakes at certain points, it still takes a man’s courage and immense efforts to achieve success and this is what Johnson majored in and managed to win various awards. Just as many other athletes, he risked being disqualified from sprinting by taking drugs in order to win more impressively even though he knew about the danger of taking doping in sports. Nevertheless, after being pardoned for using the drugs for the first time, he still went ahead to use them again. This shows Johnson as an ambitious man who can take risks as long as he gets whatever he wants. Moreover, after Johnson’s steroid abuse was discovered and it is through doping that he was stripped off his medals, he still came out courageously to defend himself (Montague 7). He did not care whether all the newspapers had at times quite elaborately distorted news about his downfall. Once he said there was a time when he wished that he could have been born later in order to race with Hussein Bolt. This is a race that he was sure he could have won even though it is currently known that Bolt is the champion and a record holder.

Ben Johnson showed a lot of hard work during his time in Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. He believed that when one door closes another one opens. He tried many ventures so as to make ends meet in life. This became especially actual after he was disqualified from participating in sprinting whereby he was forced to travel to other countries in order to continue exploiting his talent .Additionally, his hardworking nature revealed itself when he engaged in writing books apart from participating in sports. In 2005, he started a clothing line which never picked up well. Apart from training in the aforementioned countries, he also trained Diego Maradona for a short period of time in Argentina.

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Initially, Johnson did not believe that using drugs could make somebody sprint faster. His coach, however, was able to convince a young athlete that since everyone was using them, there was no point of viewing these as something wrong. What is more, whereas everyone used doping, there was equality among the athletes and no one was left disadvantaged. Despite such beliefs, it is this use of drugs that made Johnson ruin his reputation in sports. What is also shocking is that he was not the only one using the forbidden substances noted but the only athlete caught. During the first investigation, Johnson was suspended but later on pardoned. He, nevertheless, failed to take the pardon seriously and broke the rules again by continuing to use the drugs. Seven years after, Johnson managed to break a record in the 100 meters final race in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, following a series of doping tests, the gold medal that he had won was taken away immediately after he had received it.

Johnson tried to defend himself before he began the doping program. Yet, during it he also claimed that someone might have put a drug, which he was definitely not going to use into his drink. He insisted that he would not have dared to take the drug after the previous case. Later, he was shocked that the amount of steroid that was found in his blood system was so high. Unfortunately, stanozol was also found in his tests, yet he was sure that he had never used it. It is possible that it could be true and someone else might have put the drug in his drink tp prevent him from winning.


Ben Johnson’s humiliation was vividly evident after his race result was disqualified. After his urine test was found to be drugged with stanozol, he was so humiliated because he knew he had never used this or other steroids. In spite of these claims, the 100 meters race that he had participated in was disqualified completely and termed to be corrupt (ESPN 8). This meant that his efforts during the preparation period and that race in particular were all wasted. It was far more humiliating that after that he was sent home to Toronto and his medals were forcefully taken from him in the presence of his mother.

In those days, once someone was found guilty of using doping, he or she was to be banned from further participation. Ben Johnson faced the same thing. He was also banned from competing in 1999. As a consequence, he was in practically all the newspapers for a year and was described in more than five pages as the most corrupt person in sports. He then lost all the contracts and became financially unstable, which also made him lose his property after being unable to pay a loan that he had borrowed and forced Johnson to seek happiness abroad.

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Johnson knew that the higher he flew, the higher it would be to fall down. Anyway, he was able to deal with fear and pity in many ways after his downfall. He took time with his family and friends who managed to help him start all over again. In this case, he mingled with Bryan Farnum who was able to advise him and later other friends who knew all and believed Ben did not use forbidden substances for the second time. After all this, he felt relieved of depression that was then killing him. After his being disqualified, he faced a lot of mockery from his fellow students at college. Thanks to his confidence and courage that made him believe that sprinting was his talent, he did not stop no matter what. He was also able to get support from Charlie Francis who, although played a huge role in Bens’s drug problems, acted like his farther by providing him with advice and strengthening him spiritually. Besides, Johnson did not leave sports; he was able to take part in other sports like European football (soccer) and trained Diego Maradona. During this time, he also did lots of traveling to other countries to avoid humiliation.


Johnson used drugs to enhance his strength while participating in athletics for a long time without being detected. He even won an Olympic gold medal in Seoul. Caught once, he still did not make the necessary conclusions and was disqualified terminally after the second positive test. This title was scraped sometime after he failed sport drug test which he claimed could have been false as someone might add forbidden substances into his drink without his consent. He was extremely humiliated but did not give up, found enough inner strength to continue with his life and be successful. He even ventured into other sports like soccer as a sports coach.


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