SEOUL — In the highest-profile and most startling drug-testing sanction ever imposed in Olympic sports, Canadian track star Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal and banned from international competition here today.
An anabolic steroid called Stanozolol, a drug used by athletes to increase muscle bulk and strength and enhance performance, was found in a urine sample from Johnson. The Jamaican native, who competes for Canada, set a stunning world record of 9.79 seconds in the 100-meter race Saturday, breaking the 9.83 record he set at the World Games in Rome last year while beating American arch-rival Carl Lewis.
He beat Lewis again here Saturday, but Johnson's disqualification moved Lewis up a notch to the gold medal. American Calvin Smith, fourth Saturday, moved up to the bronze medal as England's Linford Christie advanced from the bronze to the silver.
Under International Olympic Committee rules, all medal winners, plus some other competitors chosen at random, are tested after competing to make sure they have not used drugs that can give unfair advantage. The banned drugs fall into five major categories: anabolic steroids, stimulants, narcotics, beta blockers and diuretics. Within these categories, there are more than 5,000 specific drugs on the IOC's banned list.