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Sprinter Ben Johnson revisits scene of global disgrace

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Disgraced drugs cheat Ben Johnson returned Tuesday to Seoul's Olympic Stadium -- 25 years to the day of the steroid-assisted 100m final victory that destroyed his career and reputation.

The Canadian sprinter revisited the site of his stunning triumph and downfall to bring an anti-doping message for a sport still struggling to rid itself of banned substance use.

"It feels good to be back," Johnson said as he stepped out onto the track where, at 1:30pm on September 24, 1988, he lined up for a 100m final that would become known as the "dirtiest race in history."

"This is where history was made," Johnson said. "Some might call it bad history, but I don't see it that way," he added.

First out of the blocks in the final, Johnson destroyed a field that included his hated rival Carl Lewis and stormed to victory in a world record time of 9.79sec.

Three days later he was stripped of his medal, his time and ultimately his career after it was announced that he had tested positive for stanozolol, a banned anabolic steroid.

Six of the eight finalists would eventually be implicated in doping scandals, including Lewis, who it was later revealed had tested positive for stimulants at the US Olympic trials.

Johnson has admitted to years of steroid use, although he still claims that he was set up in Seoul by a drink spiked with stanozolol.

His return to Seoul was the final leg of a global tour as standard bearer of the #ChooseTheRightTrack campaign, which calls for new strategies to combat continued drug use in athletics.

The sport has recently been rocked by a string of doping cases, including high-profile athletes like Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

The sport's world governing body, the IAAF, announced last month that it would impose four-year bans for drug offenders from 2015.

Seven athletes, including one finalist, tested positive for doping at August's World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130924/sprinter-ben-johnson-revisits-scene-global-disgrace