It seems that former disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson has another secret to tell.
Two years prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Johnson tested positive for a banned substance, the scandal plagued Canadian told CBC Sports on Tuesday.
In an interview with CBC reporter Lance Winn, Johnson said he tested positive at the Zurich International meet in 1986 but former coach, the late Charlie Francis, withheld the information for years.
Johnson, who is on a promotional tour for his book Seoul to Soul, defeated American archrival Carl Lewis at the meet in Zurich, setting up an intensely bitter rivalry between the two athletes that dated back to the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
A year after the Zurich event, at the world track and field championship in Rome, Johnson bested Lewis in a world-record time of 9.83, winning the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete.
At the Seoul Olympics, he improved upon his time in Rome, crossing the line in a blistering 9.79 to win the gold medal.
Three days later, he was stripped of his medal for testing positive for the steroid stanazolol, forcing officials to award Lewis the gold.
Johnson has always maintained that somebody spiked his drink with the drug.
In his book, Johnson claims that Andre Jackson, a family friend of Lewis was used to give the U.S. sprint star an advantage.
He also went on to say that Jackson was involved in the positive test from 1986, though Johnson has no idea why the information did not become public. As far as he was concerned, Francis took care of the situation.
“I didn’t know about [the Zurich positive test]…until Charlie [spoke] to me many years after when everything [was] unfolding with this Andre Jackson stuff,” Johnson said. “I was totally surprised because it never came out, and everything was done with.”
Johnson stated Jackson was a member of Lewis’ entourage during the 1980s and became friends with the embattled Canadian track star in a veiled attempt to sabotage Johnson at the 1988 Olympics.
After the positive test, Johnson and his entourage claimed that a mystery man gave him a drink with a “yellow gooey substance” at the bottom of the bottle.
The claim was unfounded and Johnson was banned from completion for two years.