Former Canadian track coach Francis presents his account of events leading up to sprinter Ben Johnson's infamous 100-meter run at the 1988 Olympics, on the heels of which came the forfeiture of Johnson's gold medal for failing a drug test. Francis offers few regrets. Instead, he contends his pupil was possibly a victim of foul play (several theories are advanced), though he admits to Johnson's participation in a sophisticated steroids program. He argues that success on the international track circuit is largely dependent on chemical assistance, that the health hazard has been overblown, and that ``if mature and informed elite athletes conclude that they must take steroids to survive in their sport, and can do so without jeopardizing their health, they should be able to make that choice freely.'' Such views are certain to be controversial while at the same time reflective of the direction the sport has taken in recent years. A disturbing, thought-provoking perspective.-- Wil liam H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla .
Canadian sprint coach Francis, who supervised Ben Johnson's training and steroid use, explains how anabolic steroids came to be so thoroughly entrenched within modern track and field, and examines the hypocrisy of the sport's bureaucracy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)