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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Johnson: Everyone Does Drugs

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Suspended Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson has accused world athletics bodies of making him a scapegoat when they banned him from the sport for doping.


Johnson said the use of drugs was widespread in athletics.


"Everyone runs fast but they grab hold of some of them and they pay the price for the rest," Johnson said in an interview published Wednesday in La Nacion daily newspaper in Buenos Aires, where he is working as personal trainer to soccer star Diego Maradona.


Johnson, who is awaiting a ruling this month from the International Amateur Athletic Federation, or IAAF, on his appeal against a life ban for doping, said the big cash sums offered to those breaking world records at athletics meetings encouraged taking drugs.


"This all has to do with money and power," the Canadian said.


Johnson, 35, said he was confident he could still win if he were allowed back on the track.


"I know I am the fastest athlete in the world," he said. "My only crime was to run very fast."


Nonetheless, Johnson agreed that drugs were a problem.


"I think that everyone should follow a single rule: Don't use drugs. Why doesn't the IAAF, if it wants to get to the bottom of the problem, grant an amnesty, and let each athlete confess without any penalty so that we could start again with clean athletics?"