Ben Johnson launches global anti-doping campaign on anniversary of Seoul Olympics.

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson, the sprinter who won a 100 metres gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 before his disqualification for failing a routine drug test, has arrived in the UK at the start of a world tour to launch a
new anti-doping initiative.

Johnson will promote a new campaign, #ChooseTheRightTrack, which has been initiated by the sportswear company SKINS who have gained an international reputation for upholding the true spirit of competition
and integrity in sport. The campaign is the first activity under the SKINS banner of “Pure Sport” which has been established to celebrate sporting achievement and challenge any activity which brings international
sport into disrepute.

Johnson’s tour will incorporate activities in Canada, USA, Australia and Japan before culminating in a visit to the Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul on 24th September. The date marks the 25th anniversary of the
notorious race in which Ben finished ahead of a world class field including Carl Lewis and Linford Christie.

Ben will be joined by SKINS Chairman, Jaimie Fuller and together, they will propose a series of necessary changes to radically improve an anti-doping system Johnson breached 25 years ago and that athletes are still breaching today. In a quarter of a century, little has changed in the fight to eradicate doping from sport and the campaign will highlight three main proposals.

1. WADA must have a transparent, unambiguous mandate that provides independence to its activities and adequate funding to effectively implement the code, free from political interference.

2. An Athlete’s Support Council (ASC) reporting to WADA must be established to support, educate and offer whistle blowing services to athletes and bridge the cultural gap and mistrust that exists between the administrators and the athletes.

3. A Truth & Reconciliation type process must be initiated to allow certain sports (immediately starting with Cycling) to break the doping culture chain and give access to a level of intelligence that can only be enjoyed through maximum cooperation from current and ex dopers.

Johnson said: “The time is right for me to speak out. People have said many things and made many promises about eradicating doping, but after 25 years, things are still the same. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that all the things I did were wrong. Athletes need better support and guidance and I want to use the tour to highlight the real problems that exist between administrators and athletes. Until they’re confronted, the situation will always be the same – and will probably get worse.”

Jaimie Fuller said: “At SKINS, we have a history of speaking out when we believe it’s right and we’re doing it again now. Ben personified the modern era of doping but after 25 years, he’s now in the best position to publicise this campaign. As an athlete, he had no outside help when he needed it and the Athlete Support Council is something he can definitely relate to. After a quarter of a century, there remains a complete lack of trust between the athletes and administrators and the ASC would assist in bridging the gap.”

#ChooseTheRightTrack highlights the continuing failure of the anti-doping system in addressing the public’s growing lack of confidence in the principle that sporting outcomes are based on fair and clean competition. As a result, ‘clean’ sport is being increasingly tainted with ‘guilt by association.’

As part of the campaign, Ben will invite sports fans to sign a petition demanding action to improve the waning credibility of world sport which will be delivered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) at the conclusion of the tour.

Fans can join the petition at: http://puresport.skins.net!

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