Sprinter Ben Johnson, maintaining his innocence in a drug scandal that forced Olympic officials to take away his gold medal, said in a published report Saturday that he turned down a lucrative offer from a foreign magazine in order to give Canadians a firsthand account of the controversy.

Johnson, who lost his 100 meters medal after testing positive for anabolic steroids, told the Toronto Sun that he "never took any banned substances."Johnson said he received anti-inflammatory cortisone shots from his doctor, George Mario (Jamie) Astaphan, days before running the 100 meters a week ago in a world-record 9.79 seconds.

He said the only other medication he took was a concoction which he said was fixed by Astaphan and taken throughout training and in Seoul, South Korea.

Johnson also told the Sun that the West German magazine Stern offered him $500,000 for his story. The magazine has denied Johnson's allegation.

"They offered me $250,000 for the story, but I told them I wouldn't do it. I told them, `I'll tell my

story to the Canadian people through Canadian media.' They doubled the amount to $500,000 American. I turned them down," Johnson said.