A federal inquiry into the use of drugs by athletes opened after Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal, was to resume with testimony expected from his coach, Charlie Francis.
Johnson, who maintains that he never knowingly used drugs to enhance his performances, also will be testifying during the hearings, scheduled to last for the next several weeks. The date of his testimony yet to be announced.Ontario Associate Chief Justice Charles Dubin was appointed by the federal government to investigate drug abuse in Canadian amateur athletics after Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids at the Summer Olympics last September in Seoul.
Dubin said in an opening session last fall that the inquiry would go far beyond the Johnson case to take a comprehensive look at amateur athletics and the pressures that may encourage athletes to use drugs.
Francis has spoken publicly only once since the Olympics, a brief statement that Johnson's urine test may have been sabotaged. "Such a test result defies all logic and, in my opinion, can only be explained by a deliberate manipulation of the testing process," he said on Oct. 3.
Johnson's physician, Dr. Jamie Astaphan, also has agreed to testify sometime in the next few weeks.
Attorneys from the commission turned to the provincial Supreme Court of Ontario on Monday to force Astaphan to testify at a special hearing on his native Caribbean island of St. Kitts. But Monday's session was adjourned after Sookram said the doctor would appear in Toronto without any conditions.
Astaphan earlier had said his legal fees would have to be paid if he were to testify in Toronto.
Canadian euphoria over Johnson's victory Sept. 24 over U.S. sprinter Carl Lewis in a world record time of 9.79 seconds in the 100-meter race quickly turned to mourning and disgrace when the Jamaican-born runner was stripped of the medal.
Johnson, 27, has been banned from competition for two years by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, which governs world track and field.