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THE SIDELINES : Ben Johnson Ready to Tell His Side

June 09, 1989| From Times wire service s

TORONTO — After more than eight months of waiting silently in the wings, Ben Johnson is ready to tell the story of how the world's fastest man fell from grace. The disgraced Canadian Olympic sprinter will begin testifying on Monday before a government inquiry into the use of drugs in sports.

A nation that felt pride in his victories at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and then shame at his alleged use of banned steroids is expected to hang on his every word.

The riveting issue is the sprinter's role in his downfall--did he knowingly take anabolic steroids and understand what they were for, or was he led astray by his own entourage?

Johnson, 27, will be the 62nd witness to appear before the inquiry, which has already heard 56 days of testimony.

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