Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metres

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Men's 100 meters
at the Games of the XXIV Olympiad
VenueOlympic Stadium
Date23 & 24 September
Competitors102 from 69 nations
Winning time9.92 WR
1st place, gold medalist(s) Carl Lewis
 United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Linford Christie
 Great Britain
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Calvin Smith
 United States
← 1984
1992 →

The men's 100 meters at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea saw world champion Ben Johnson of Canada defeat defending Olympic champion Carl Lewis of the United States in a world record time of 9.79, breaking his own record of 9.83 that he had set at the 1987 World Championships in Rome. Two days later, Johnson was stripped of his gold medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after he tested positive for stanozolol, and his record of 9.79 seconds was deleted. The gold medal was then awarded to the original silver medalist Lewis, who had run 9.92. On 30 September 1989, following Johnson's admission to steroid use between 1981 and 1988, the IAAF rescinded his world record of 9.83 from the 1987 World Championship Final and stripped Johnson of his World Championship gold medal, which was also awarded to Lewis, who initially finished second.[1][2][3][4] This made Lewis the first man to repeat as Olympic champion in the 100 metres (second, if Archie Hahn's 1906 Intercalated Games title is recognized).

Lewis's 9.92 from the Olympic final was also recognized as the official world record, breaking the 9.93 mark that Calvin Smith had set in 1983 and Lewis had since equalled twice. Smith also participated in this race and originally finished fourth, but was elevated to third place and awarded the bronze medal, and Linford Christie of the United Kingdom, who originally won the bronze medal, was elevated to silver. It would take eleven years for an athlete to run a "clean" 9.79 in the 100 meters, which was accomplished by Maurice Greene in Athens, Greece in 1999.

The other participants in this race, in order of finish, were Dennis Mitchell of the United States, who would go on to win the bronze medal in this event in Barcelona; Robson da Silva of Brazil, who won bronze in the 200 meters in Seoul; Johnson's teammate Desai Williams, a bronze medalist in the 4 x 100 meter relay in Los Angeles four years earlier; and Ray Stewart of Jamaica, who won a silver medal in the same relay at the Los Angeles Olympics.[5]

102 competitors from 69 countries competed.[6] Each nation was limited to three athletes under the rules laid down at the 1930 Olympic Congress.


Johnson was not the only participant whose success was questioned: Lewis had tested positive at the Olympic Trials for pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine. Lewis defended himself, claiming that he had accidentally consumed the banned substances. After the supplements that he had taken were analyzed to prove his claims, the USOC accepted his claim of inadvertent use, since a dietary supplement he ingested was found to contain "Ma huang", the Chinese name for Ephedra (ephedrine is known to help weight loss).[7] Fellow Santa Monica Track Club teammates Joe DeLoach and Floyd Heard were also found to have the same banned stimulants in their systems, and were cleared to compete for the same reason.[8][9]

The highest level of the stimulants Lewis recorded was 6 ppm, which was regarded as a positive test in 1988 but is now regarded as negative test. The acceptable level has been raised to ten parts per million for ephedrine and twenty-five parts per million for other substances.[7] According to the IOC rules at the time, positive tests with levels lower than 10 ppm were cause of further investigation but not immediate ban. Neal Benowitz, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco who is an expert on ephedrine and other stimulants, agreed that "These [levels] are what you'd see from someone taking cold or allergy medicines and are unlikely to have any effect on performance."[7]

Following Exum's revelations the IAAF acknowledged that at the 1988 Olympic Trials the USOC indeed followed the correct procedures in dealing with eight positive findings for ephedrine and ephedrine-related compounds in low concentration.

Christie was found to have metabolites of pseudoephedrine in his urine after a 200m heat at the same Olympics, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.[1][10] Of the top five competitors in the race, only former world record holder and eventual bronze medalist Smith never failed a drug test during his career. Smith later said: "I should have been the gold medalist."[11][12]

The CBC radio documentary, Rewind, "Ben Johnson: A Hero Disgraced" broadcast on September 19, 2013, for the 25th anniversary of the race, stated 20 athletes tested positive for drugs but were cleared by the IOC at this 1988 Seoul Olympics. An IOC official stated that endocrine profiles done at those games indicated that 80 percent of the track and field athletes tested showed evidence of long-term steroid use, although not all were banned.


This was the twenty-first time the event was held, having appeared at every Olympics since the first in 1896. For the first time, the number of competitors topped 100.

Algeria, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hong Kong, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu, South Yemen, and Zimbabwe appeared in the event for the first time. It was also the first appearance of "Chinese Taipei," though the Republic of China had competed before. The United States made its 20th appearance in the event, most of any country, having missed only the boycotted 1980 Games.

Competition format[edit]

The event retained the same basic four round format introduced in 1920: heats, quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final. The "fastest loser" system, introduced in 1968, was used again to ensure that the quarterfinals and subsequent rounds had exactly 8 runners per heat; this time, the system was used in both the preliminaries and quarterfinals.

The first round consisted of 13 heats, each with 7 or 8 athletes. The top three runners in each heat advanced, along with the next nine fastest runners overall. This made 48 quarterfinalists, who were divided into 6 heats of 8 runners. The top two runners in each quarterfinal advanced, with four "fastest loser" places. The 16 semifinalists competed in two heats of 8, with the top four in each semifinal advancing to the eight-man final.[6][13]


These were the then-recognized world and Olympic records (in seconds) prior to the 1988 Summer Olympics.

World Record 9.831 Canada Ben Johnson Rome (ITA) August 30, 1987
Olympic Record 9.95 United States Jim Hines Mexico City (MEX) October 14, 1968

1 This time was rescinded by the IAAF Council in September 1989 after Johnson admitted to using steroids between 1981 and 1988. Following Johnson's disqualification, Carl Lewis's time of 9.92 was recognized as a new Olympic record, and also became a new world record after Johnson's time was rescinded.



Heat 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Robson da Silva  Brazil 10.37 Q
2 Ezio Madonia  Italy 10.40 Q
3 Cheng Hsin-fu  Chinese Taipei 10.48 Q
4 Thierry Lauret  France 10.56 q
5 Boevi Lawson  Togo 10.59
6 Leung Wing Kwong  Hong Kong 10.82
7 Mohamed Fahd Al-Bishi  Saudi Arabia 10.85
8 Jerry Jeremiah  Vanuatu 10.96

Heat 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Calvin Smith  United States 10.28 Q
2 Attila Kovács  Hungary 10.39 Q
3 Mardi Lestari  Indonesia 10.40 Q
4 Andrey Razin  Soviet Union 10.58
5 Henri Ndinga  Republic of the Congo 10.74
6 Fabian Muyaba  Zimbabwe 10.75
7 Moustafa Kamel Salmi  Algeria 11.08
8 Markus Büchel  Liechtenstein 11.21

Heat 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Talal Mansour  Qatar 10.42 Q
2 Juan Núñez  Dominican Republic 10.47 Q
3 Amadou M'Baye  Senegal 10.64 Q
4 Fabian Whymns  Bahamas 10.70
5 Neville Hodge  Virgin Islands 10.73
6 Horace Dove-Edwin  Sierra Leone 10.89
7 Alexandre Yougbare  Burkina Faso 10.90
8 Henrico Atkins  Barbados 11.01

Heat 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Emmanuel Tuffour  Ghana 10.31 Q
2 Koji Kurihara  Japan 10.46 Q
3 Andrew Smith  Jamaica 10.49 Q
4 Zheng Chen  China 10.51 q
5 István Tatár  Hungary 10.52 q
6 Christian Haas  West Germany 10.54 q
7 John Hou  Papua New Guinea 10.96
8 Ehab Fuad Ahmed Nagi  South Yemen 11.53

Heat 5[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Linford Christie  Great Britain 10.19 Q
2 Max Morinière  France 10.34 Q
3 Sven Matthes  East Germany 10.35 Q
4 Li Tao  China 10.47 q
5 Samuel Nchinda-Kaya  Cameroon 10.60
6 Lee Shiunn-long  Chinese Taipei 10.69
7 Bill Trott  Bermuda 10.69
8 Frank Maziya  Swaziland 11.52

Heat 6[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Chidi Imoh  Nigeria 10.62 Q
2 Charles-Louis Seck  Senegal 10.64 Q
3 Issa Alassane-Ousséni  Benin 10.72 Q
4 John Regis  Great Britain 10.76
5 Mothobi Kharitse  Lesotho 10.97
6 Robert Loua  Guinea 11.20
7 Samuel Birch  Liberia 11.68
Pedro Agostinho  Portugal DNF

Heat 7[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Ray Stewart  Jamaica 10.22 Q
2 Pierfrancesco Pavoni  Italy 10.36 Q
3 Vitaliy Savin  Soviet Union 10.52 Q
4 György Fetter  Hungary 10.54 q
5 Khaled Ibrahim Jouma  Bahrain 10.80
6 Muhammad Afzal  Pakistan 10.91
7 Claude Roumain  Haiti 11.22

Heat 8[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Ben Johnson  Canada 10.37 Q
2 Cai Jianming  China 10.55 Q
3 Sim Deok-Seop  South Korea 10.56 Q
4 Carlos Moreno  Chile 10.70
5 Abdullah Salem Al-Khalidi  Oman 10.90
6 Mohamed Shah Jalal  Bangladesh 10.94
7 Joseph Ssali  Uganda 10.95
8 St. Clair Soleyne  Antigua and Barbuda 11.17

Heat 9[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Desai Williams  Canada 10.24 Q
2 Peter Wekesa  Kenya 10.50 Q
3 Olapade Adeniken  Nigeria 10.56 Q
4 Eduardo Nava  Mexico 10.68
5 Jailto Bonfim  Brazil 10.75
6 Lindel Hodge  British Virgin Islands 10.79
7 Visut Watanasin  Thailand 10.88
8 Arménio Fernandes  Angola 10.92

Heat 10[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Vladimir Krylov  Soviet Union 10.34 Q
2 Arnaldo da Silva  Brazil 10.44 Q
3 Michele Lazazzera  Italy 10.47 Q
4 Kennedy Ondiek  Kenya 10.51 q
5 Takahiko Kasahara  Japan 10.62
6 Jimmy Flemming  Virgin Islands 10.70
7 Jihad Salame  Lebanon 11.49
8 Gilbert Bessi  Monaco 11.55

Heat 11[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Dennis Mitchell  United States 10.37 Q
2 Isiaq Adeyanju  Nigeria 10.45 Q
3 Ousmane Diarra  Mali 10.53 Q
4 Oliver Daniels  Liberia 10.68
5 Luís Cunha  Portugal 10.80
6 Evaristo Ortíz  Dominican Republic 11.01
7 Nguyễn Đình Minh  Vietnam 11.09
8 Secundino Borabota  Equatorial Guinea 11.52

Heat 12[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Myles-Mills  Ghana 10.31 Q
2 Andreas Berger  Austria 10.40 Q
3 Barrington Williams  Great Britain 10.51 Q
4 Patrick Stevens  Belgium 10.51 q
5 Enrique Talavera  Spain 10.61
6 Tomohiro Osawa  Japan 10.71
7 Dominique Canti  San Marino 11.11
8 Ismail Asif Waheed  Maldives 11.49

Heat 13[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Carl Lewis  United States 10.14 Q
2 Jean-Charles Trouabal  France 10.39 Q
3 José Javier Arqués  Spain 10.44 Q
4 John Mair  Jamaica 10.44
5 Harouna Pale  Burkina Faso 10.76
6 Peauope Suli  Tonga 10.94
7 Maloni Bole  Fiji 11.19


Quarterfinal 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Linford Christie  Great Britain 10.11 Q
2 Dennis Mitchell  United States 10.13 Q
3 Ben Johnson  Canada 10.17 q
4 John Mair  Jamaica 10.41
5 Charles-Louis Seck  Senegal 10.42
6 Li Tao  China 10.53
7 Kennedy Ondiek  Kenya 10.57
8 Ousmane Diarra  Mali 10.61

Quarterfinal 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Desai Williams  Canada 10.16 Q
2 Arnaldo da Silva  Brazil 10.25 Q
3 Vladimir Krylov  Soviet Union 10.26 q
4 Attila Kovács  Hungary 10.27 q
5 Michele Lazazzera  Italy 10.50
6 Thierry Lauret  France 10.51
7 Zheng Chen  China 10.72
8 Chidi Imoh  Nigeria 11.44

Quarterfinal 3[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Ray Stewart  Jamaica 10.25 Q
2 Juan Núñez  Dominican Republic 10.33 Q
3 Sven Matthes  East Germany 10.36
4 Jean-Charles Trouabal  France 10.41
5 José Javier Arqués  Spain 10.43
6 Amadou M'Baye  Senegal 10.45
7 Barrington Williams  Great Britain 10.55
8 Christian Haas  West Germany 10.57

Quarterfinal 4[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Calvin Smith  United States 10.16 Q
2 Olapade Adeniken  Nigeria 10.30 Q
3 Andreas Berger  Austria 10.34
4 Emmanuel Tuffour  Ghana 10.37
5 Talal Mansour  Qatar 10.38
6 Patrick Stevens  Belgium 10.50
7 Cheng Hsin-Fu  Chinese Taipei 10.54
8 György Fetter  Hungary 10.55

Quarterfinal 5[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Carl Lewis  United States 9.99 Q
2 Robson da Silva  Brazil 10.24 Q
3 Isiaq Adeyanju  Nigeria 10.32 q
4 Pierfrancesco Pavoni  Italy 10.33
5 Vitaliy Savin  Soviet Union 10.36
6 Koji Kurihara  Japan 10.49
7 István Tatár  Hungary 10.68
8 Issa Alassane-Ousséni  Benin 10.83

Quarterfinal 6[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 John Myles-Mills  Ghana 10.21 Q
2 Mardi Lestari  Indonesia 10.32 Q
3 Max Morinière  France 10.37
4 Ezio Madonia  Italy 10.38
5 Peter Wekesa  Kenya 10.43
6 Sim Deok-Seop  South Korea 10.55
7 Andrew Smith  Jamaica 10.63
8 Cai Jianming  China 10.76


Semifinal 1[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Carl Lewis  United States 9.97 Q
2 Calvin Smith  United States 10.15 Q
3 Ray Stewart  Jamaica 10.18 Q
4 Desai Williams  Canada 10.24 Q
5 Arnaldo da Silva  Brazil 10.32
6 Olapade Adeniken  Nigeria 10.33
7 Mardi Lestari  Indonesia 10.39
8 John Myles-Mills  Ghana 10.43

Semifinal 2[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1 Ben Johnson  Canada 10.03 Q
2 Linford Christie  Great Britain 10.11 Q
3 Dennis Mitchell  United States 10.23 Q
4 Robson da Silva  Brazil 10.24 Q
5 Attila Kovács  Hungary 10.31
6 Juan Núñez  Dominican Republic 10.35
7 Isiaq Adeyanju  Nigeria 10.60
Vladimir Krylov  Soviet Union DNS


Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1st place, gold medalist(s) Carl Lewis  United States 9.92 Original silver medalist, awarded gold medal and world record after Johnson's disqualification.
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Linford Christie  Great Britain 9.97 Set a British and European record.
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Calvin Smith  United States 9.99 This was the first time anyone had broken ten seconds and finished third.
4 Dennis Mitchell  United States 10.04
5 Robson da Silva  Brazil 10.11
6 Desai Williams  Canada 10.11
7 Ray Stewart  Jamaica 12.26 Pulled a hamstring after 55 meters.
DSQ Ben Johnson  Canada 9.79 Stripped of gold medal and world record after he tested positive for stanozolol.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Duncan Mackay (April 18, 2003). "The dirtiest race in history Olympic 100m final, 1988". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  2. ^ Moore, Richard (2012). The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the Seoul Olympic 100m Final. Wisden Sports Writing. ISBN 9781408135952. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Montague, James (July 23, 2012). "Hero or villain? Ben Johnson and the dirtiest race in history". CNN.
  4. ^ Mehaffey, John (September 23, 2013). "Smith true winner of 'dirtiest race' in history". Reuters. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Athletics at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games: Men's 100 metres". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "100 metres, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Wallechinsky and Loucky, The Complete Book of the Olympics (2012 edition), page 61
  8. ^ "Scorecard". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  9. ^ "Carl Lewis's positive test covered up". April 18, 2003. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  10. ^ [1][2][3]
  11. ^ "The most corrupt race ever". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
  12. ^ Duncan Mackay (April 23, 2003). "Lewis: 'Who cares if I tested positive'". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Official Report, vol. 2, pp. 270–71.