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Griffith Joyner Is Considering Suing Carl Lewis

December 08, 1988|RANDY HARVEY | Times Staff Writer

Florence Griffith Joyner said Wednesday night that Carl Lewis was guilty of slander when he implied that she has used performance-enhancing drugs, but she said she has not decided whether to sue.

"It's a little premature to talk about legal action," she said by telephone from Paris, where she was to receive a reward Thursday morning as the outstanding woman track and field athlete of the year.

"I'd really like to talk to him before I do anything. I'm really surprised that someone of his stature would make a statement like that. I want to ask him why he said it.

"There's so much jealousy in the sport. But I didn't think I would ever hear anything like that from Carl Lewis. It sounded like he was trying to slander me."

Speaking to a group of students Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania, Lewis said that he knew of Griffith Joyner's drug use from "some very reliable sources."

In a statement Tuesday, Lewis apologized and said that he had no personal knowledge of drug use by Griffith Joyner.

Griffith Joyner has been the target of rumors about her training methods since last summer, when she set world records in the 100 and 200 meters and won three gold medals and a silver at the Seoul Olympics.

She has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids, and has volunteered for testing by the U.S. Olympic Committee at any time during her training. Six tests after competitions last summer proved negative.

"This isn't the first time I've heard the rumors, and I'm sure it won't be the last," she said. "I can't really react to them, especially when I know they're not true. The truth always prevails."

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