ESPN 30 For 30 documentary on Ben Johnson, 9.79*, premieres Oct. 11 on TSN

Fresh from its appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival, TSN takes fans back to the starting blocks of one of the most controversial races in Olympic history with the highly-anticipated Canadian television debut of the ESPN 30 FOR 30 documentary, 9.79*.

Premiering Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TSN, 9.79* examines the unforgettable men’s 100m final featuring Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and American Carl Lewis at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games – and the steroids scandal that ensued.

As part of TSN’s coverage of 9.79*, all editions of Sportscentre on Thursday will look at where the fight against performance-enhancing drugs in sports stands today with reporter Dave Naylor, who examines the impact the Ben Johnson scandal has had on amateur and professional sports 24 years after Seoul.

Naylor will also explore whether public attitudes to drug use in sports have changed since 1988, and ask coaches, watchdog groups, and commentators if the battle against cheating can ever be won.

TSN.ca will feature interviews with Brian Williams and Gino Reda as they sit down with Sportscentre’s Rod Smith to reflect back on their experiences covering the Johnson steroid scandal and Dubin Inquiry. In 1988, it was Williams who delivered the news to the nation that Johnson had been stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for steroids. Following the 1988 Games, Reda – then a reporter for TSN – covered the Canadian government’s inquiry into the use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes, led by Ontario Appeal Court Chief Justice Charles Dubin.

A selection at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, 9.79* features interviews with all eight sprinters that competed in the fateful 100m men’s final on September 24, 1988 at Seoul Olympic Stadium. By beating Lewis, Johnson lowered his own world record to 9.79 seconds in what is widely considered one of the most thrilling sprints in Olympic history. Within 48 hours, however, Johnson had tested positive for an anabolic steroid and had his gold medal removed. In the ensuing years, it has been revealed that five other competitors in that race had either tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs or were implicated in a drug scandal.

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