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BEN JOHNSON'S `MYSTERY STEROID' WAS STANOZOLOL

Published: Wednesday, May 10 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

The mystery steroid that Ben Johnson's doctor was administering his athletic patients was stanozolol - the drug which cost the sprinter an Olympic gold medal, a federal drug inquiry was told today.

Commission investigator Walter Greczko read from a federal laboratory analysis that identified a milky white substance obtained from Johnson's teammate, Angella Issajenko, as containing all the properties of Winstrol V - a trade name for stanozolol which is intended for use on animals.Issajenko, Coach Charlie Francis and others have told the inquiry into cheating in sport that Dr. Jamie Astaphan, Johnson's personal physician, called the drug estrogol.

Johnson's test result baffled those close to the sprinter who couldn't understand how he tested for one drug when they thought he was taking another.

They said Johnson must have been sabotaged.

Today's testimony indicates he was not.

On Tuesday, veteran coach Andy Higgins told Commissioner Charles Dubin how he and some of his colleagues confronted national officials with allegations of steroid use by Johnson and his teammates, then asked if they should follow the same course after the athletes were given a ringing endorsement.

Bruce Pirnie, now a throwing coach at the University of Manitoba, described how he was turned off the muscle-building drugs he'd used for years while he was a shot putter. He said he suffered disturbing side-effects and saw two friends contract cancer.

And Lynn Williams, one of the world's top female middle-distance runners, expressed a resolve of competing clean in a sport that has been branded dirty.

Higgins said the Canadian Track and Field Association had been told repeatedly that Johnson's coach Charlie Francis and his understudies were using banned drugs, but did nothing. Last year, Higgins had had enough.

"In a year-end review, there'd been a written statement that said we really must be doing much more of what Charlie was doing," Higgins testified.

He quoted the report as saying Francis "seemed so well organized; he was getting terrific results working with sports medicine people, sports scientists and planning programs."

Higgins said he and several other coaches at the University of Toronto told CTFA officials last spring that Francis' programs involved drugs. They asked if theirs should, too.

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