Former Jamaican born 100 meters world record holder Ben Johnson who during the 1980′ held the title ‘fastest man on the planet,’ grabbed headlines last week when news broke that he would speak about the use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics (when he competed) at the inaugural CLM TV Sports Symposium to be held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York on Thursday May 27, 2010.
“The truth is I have been out of the limelight for a very long time. Many years have passed…Some may have thought I was the only one who took performance enhancing drugs. The time has come to speak the truth about my career and to set the record straight about what happened” Johnson was quoted as saying.
CLM TV executive Clement Hume said interest in the event has spiked since it was announced that Johnson was added to the panel.
“A number of local and international media entities have contacted us about covering the event since we added Ben Johnson, a man who was at the top of the sports 22 years ago. Telephone traffic to our office has definitely increased in the past few days. Everyone is excited about the event and looking forward to what Johnson and the other panelists will say” Hume noted.
The symposium will be held a day before the Trelawny Reunion Weekend activities in New York begin, an event that typically attracts thousands of Trelawneyities to New York City.
“As president of Hands Across Trelawny and being deeply rooted in the Trelawny Reunion Weekend, which celebrates its 29th year next weekend, I have experienced first hand the pride that Trelawnyites have in the accomplishments of Ben Johnson”, Denise Dixon said. “We were there to support him when he launched the Ben Johnson Collection in 2005 and we are here, standing proudly alongside him once again and eagerly anticipate the release of his book. On behalf of the Trelawny community, we applaud you Ben and you make us proud” she continued.
During his athletics career, Johnson set consecutive 100 meters world records at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics. At the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Australia he won two silver medals. Two years later at the Los Angeles Games, he won the 100m bronze medal behind Carl Lewis with a time of 10.22. A year later he whipped his arc rival at the 1986 Goodwill Games, where he ran 9.95. He also won Commonwealth gold at the 1986 games beating Linford Christie in the 100 m and later broke the seven-year old world record in the 60 meters with a time of 6.50 seconds.
Over the past 22 years, Johnson has kept out of the glare of the spotlight. He has quietly been building his own empire and today is the President and CEO of The Ben Johnson Collection Ltd., a successful Canadian sportswear and casual line of athletic clothing and running shoes. He will launch his autobiography “Seoul to Soul” later this year and is still involved with athletics offering a vigorous personal training program at York University in Toronto. He also enjoys volunteer work and derives satisfaction from working with children’s charities.
Other confirmed panelists at the Symposium are Teddy McCook, Executive of the Jamaica Olympic Association & regional IAAF representative; Olympians Raymond Stewart & Grace Jackson; Devon Harris, a member of Jamaica’s original Bobsled Team and Bruce James, TV sports analysts and President of MVP Track Club, home of Olympic champions Shelly Ann-Frasier, Bridgette Foster-Hylton and former world record holder Asafa Powell. The Sports Symposium will discuss issues relating to ‘The Legacy of the Beijing Olympics and the World Championship,’ brand Jamaica and sports tourism.