Athletes and coaches continue to question the role of Ben Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, and Johnson's personal physician, Dr. Mario Astaphan, in Johnson's demise. Some went so far as to say Johnson was duped.
Johnson, stripped of his Olympic gold medal for drug use, has sold the exclusive rights to his story to a West German magazine and will not grant any other interviews until Monday, published reports said Thursday.The latest issue of Sports Illustrated quoted two unnamed sources as saying Johnson received steroid injections at Astaphan's clinic in St. Kitts. Johnson visited Astaphan's clinic this summer, recovering from hamstring problems.
"They actually bragged about it, how Ben was a skinny little kid before he got into steroids," the magazine quoted one source as saying. The article also quoted a source as saying Johnson was "looking forward to getting off drugs after the Olympics."
"The kids, the athletes, call his place down in St. Kitts the drug camp because he is definitely an expert on drugs," said Zoltan Tenke, national track coach of long and triple jumpers in an interview.
Ed Nowalkoski, the York University football trainer, said: "Everybody knows about him up here. It's common fact as far as the athletes here are concerned." Johnson's track club, the Mazda Optimists, use facilities at York University.
Astaphan, who has an office in Toronto, has repeatedly stated he has never given Johnson steroids and would testify to that under oath.
Johnson remained inside his mother's suburban Toronto home while well-wishers delivered cards and messages of support.
Two U.S. television reporters bearing gifts of Jamaican bananas and dried seaweed spoke briefly to Johnson inside his home. Outside, supporters chanted his name and delivered cards and petitions. A local T-shirt manufacturer is producing a "Ben Didn't Do It" shirt and early sales have been brisk.
Public support is swelling for Johnson. A phone poll a Toronto newspaper ran received 24 calls in support of Johnson for every 1 call of outrage. The federal government has backed off an earlier position that Johnson would be barred from competing for Canada for life. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has ordered an inquiry into the affair.
Johnson won the 100-meter race Saturday in a world-record time of 9.79 seconds. After traces of Stanozolol were found in his urine, Johnson was stripped of his medal and record. Though Johnson's handlers have said the steroids could be the result of a "spiked" water bottle, Olympic officials have stated the tests indicated longer term use of the steriod.
Stanozolol increases muscle size and reduces recovery time after an injury.