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In the history of the Olympics, there's never been a controversy quite like what ensued over the 100 meter race at Seoul in 1988. The match brought together Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson (Canada) who had been fierce competitors. Lewis was known as a savvy careerist who became an American hero at the previous Los Angeles Olympics. Johnson was his chief rival, considered an underdog due to his recovery from a pulled hamstring. In less than 10 seconds, Johnson edged out in front of Lewis to win the Seoul race. But that wasn't the end. Three days later, in a reversal of fortune, the Olympic committee announced that Johnson had failed a drug test, losing his medal to Lewis in disgrace. A mystery still shrouds the race. Was Johnson exceptional in his drug usage or merely the fall guy for a widespread practice? Six of the eight finalists in the 1988 race have since been implicated for drugs -- although some still deny any wrongdoing. Filmmaker Daniel Gordon, digs into the controversy, conducting extensive interviews with Lewis and Johnson as well as their competitors, coaches and Olympic insiders. He uncovers layers of intrigue, deception and favoritism that change our perception of the way this story has previously been told.
The Seoul race wound up being the world's wake-up call to drugs in sports. Now the problem runs rampant throughout professional and amateur athletics. As drug-testing gets more sophisticated, so do means of evading it. This powerful story forces us to question what we expect from our athletes as they pursue records in the name of national pride. This story from the past is vital to understanding the future of sports.
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