Ben Johnson’s Monster Starts

Ben Johnson, despite his infamous disqualification from the 1988 Seoul Olympics, had one bad ass start. The wide spacing of his arms was unorthodox, quite different from the shoulder width prescribed by most track gurus. The way he exploded off the blocks was simply jaw-dropping. His feet moved so fast that for the untrained eye, it seemed as if both of his legs moved in unison.

Take a look at Johnson’s warm-up routine for his monster starts (0:33):

Was it the steroids? Indeed. But hell, he’s a man possessed out of the blocks!

Here’s a clip of that notorious, 9.79s race:

It’s a pity how track & field’s biggest stars get embroiled in doping scandals. It taints the image of the sport, especially since the athletes question have been marquee names (Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, etc.). As Ato Boldon puts it, the sport is unafraid to punish even its biggest athletes. That, in itself, is a good thing – despite the negative publicity.

Dope testing is an imperfect science. Cheats will always find a way to go around the rules. For a sports fan and an athlete myself, all I can do is hope that those at the top are as clean as they proclaim themselves to be.


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