Olympic double gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner said Thursday in an exclusive interview with United Press International that she is willing to be tested every week of the year to prove she does not use drugs to improve her performances.
"I know what the rumors are about me, and they are not true," Griffith Joyner said on the night she became the first sprinter in track and field history to set two world records on the same day. "I have never used drugs, I will never use drugs and I don't need to use drugs. They can come and test me every week of the year. They can test me in or out of season, at the training track or in competition. That's the way it should be. Come when the athletes least expect it. They can come and see me anytime. I have nothing to hide."She said every athlete at future Olympics should be tested before the Games begin. "Why test one here and one there?" she said. "Every athlete should be tested."
Rumors and allegations have been rampant since Ben Johnson was disqualified from the Olympics for drug abuse after winning the men's 100-meter title. Most of the rumors run along the lines that Griffith Joyner's phenomenal improvement must be due to drugs. Joaquim Cruz, the dethroned Olympic 800-meter champion, said as much in an interview with Brazilian television Tuesday. He said Griffith Joyner looked "more like a man than a woman" and that Jackie Joyner Kersee, Griffith Joyner's sister-in-law and the long jump and heptathlon gold medalist, looked like "a gorilla."
Griffith Joyner's body has become more muscular since last year's World Championships in Rome. She attributes that to hard work and weight training. The improvement has enabled her to take women's sprinting into a new era in little more than two months. In that time she has captured the 100- and 200-meter world records, and both Olympics titles.
She lowered the 100-meter record from 10.76 to 10.49 at the U.S. Olympic trials in July, and twice lowered the 200 world record Thursday from 21.71 to 21.56 in the semifinals and to 21.34 in the final.
However, Griffith Joyner may be the first victim of the Ben Johnson syndrome - if a performance is so exceptional, the athlete must be cheating.
Says Al Joyner: "We have a baby's `hope room' at home. My wife wants to have children. We know what that stuff does to your body. She would never use it and never has."
Griffith Joyner has been a world-class athlete since the early 1980s. In 1983 she was fourth in the 200 meters at the World Championship in Helsinki, Finland. She took the silver in the 200 at the '84 Olympics and '87 World Championships.