Ben Johnson Sprinter, Benjamin Sinclair “Ben” Johnson, CM OOnt (born December 30, 1961 in Falmouth, Jamaica), is a former sprinter from Canada, who enjoyed a high-profile career during most of the 1980s, winning two Olympic bronze medals and an Olympic gold, which was subsequently rescinded. He set consecutive 100 metres world records at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics, but he was disqualified for doping, losing the Olympic title and both records.
Born in Falmouth, Jamaica, Johnson emigrated to Canada in 1976, residing in Scarborough, Ontario.
Johnson met coach Charlie Francis and joined the Scarborough Optimists track and field club, training at York University. Francis was a Canadian 100 metres sprint champion himself (1970, 1971 and 1973) and a member of the Canadian team for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Francis was also Canada’s national sprint coach for nine years.
Johnson’s first international success came when he won two silver medals at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. He finished behind Allan Wells of Scotland in the 100 m with a time of 10.05 seconds and was a member of the Canadian 4×100 m relay team. This success was not repeated at the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals, finishing 6th with a time of 10.44.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he reached the 100 m final; after false starting, he won the bronze medal behind Carl Lewis and Sam Graddy with a time of 10.22. He also won a bronze medal with the Canadian 4×100 m relay team of Johnson, Tony Sharpe, Desai Williams and Sterling Hinds, who ran a time of 38.70. By the end of the 1984 season, Johnson had established himself as Canada’s top sprinter, and on August 22 in Zurich, Switzerland, he bettered Williams’ Canadian record of 10.17 by running 10.12.