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  • The Dirtiest Race in History

  • Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100M Final
  • By: Richard Moore
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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Summary

The 1988 Seoul Olympics played host to what has been described by some as the dirtiest race of all time, by others as the greatest. The final of the men's 100 metres at those Olympics is certainly the most infamous in the history of athletics, and more indelibly etched into the consciousness of the sport, the Olympics, and a global audience of millions, than any other athletics event before or since.

Ben Johnson's world-record time of 9.79 seconds - as thrilling as it was - was the beginning rather than the end of the story. Following the race, Johnson tested positive, news that generated as many - if not more - shockwaves as his fastest ever run. He was stripped of the title, with Lewis awarded the gold medal, Linford Christie the silver and Calvin Smith the bronze.

More than two decades on, the story still hadn't ended. In 1999 Lewis was named Sportsman of the Century by the IOC, and Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Yet his reputation was damaged by revelations that he too used performance-enhancing drugs, and tested positive prior to the Seoul Olympics. Christie also tested positive in Seoul but his explanation, that the banned substance had been in ginseng tea, was accepted. Smith, now a lecturer in English literature at a Florida university, was the only athlete in the top five whose reputation remains unblemished - the others all tested positive at some stage in their careers.

Containing remarkable new revelations, this book uses witness interviews - with Johnson, Lewis and Smith among others - to reconstruct the build-up to the race, the race itself, and the fallout when news of Johnson's positive test broke and he was forced into hiding. It also examines the rivalry of the two favourites going into it, and puts the race in a historical context, examining its continuing relevance on the sport today, where every new record elicits scepticism.

©2012 Richard Moore (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dirtiest Race in History

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Great story....strange narration

This is one of the best known sports stories of all time and I was really looking forward to listening to all the back stories that are connected to it. The major problem I have with this is the narrator. For some reason he reads ALL the spoken dialogue with different accents for each person. Ben Johnson sounds like an old Jamaican and he’s decided to make Carl Lewis sound like Michael Jackson!!!! I gave the book 10 minutes but I couldn’t take anymore of the narrator, such a shame!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Insightful

This is probably the best sports book I've listened to or read. I remember the furore that the drugs scandal caused at the time and vaguely recall references to " the mystery man". Well worth a listen

1 person found this helpful

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A great story marred by the narrator

I found this a riveting story with lots of research and interviews with all of the main characters. I learnt a lot more about what was going on behind the scenes.
I found the narrator very distracting, and with one particular choice of accent for a character I found it very troubling. Hopefully this can be re-recorded?

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The voiceover ruined it. I had to stop

a brilliant book, which I've read before.

unfortunately this reading is unbearable because the reader insists on imitating Johnson's Jamaican accent. despite the book being full of French, American, British , German characters, this is the only accent he deems needs to be mimicked. it's so bad that it just angers me.

I stopped after a few chapters and asked for a refund, unable to listen to more.

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Excellent..👊

....This is an excellent account of the day we all remember the 100 m final ..👍

1 person found this helpful

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  • sosnows8
  • 08-07-20

Great story

Enjoyed the story. Narrator is compelling. There are so many flawed people in this story that you can't help but have your mind blown away.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Will
  • 13-01-17

amazing

if you're interested in doping in sports you'll enjoy this book. A lot of details.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 30-01-15

Sad sad story

An in depth look back at the events leading up to and surrounding the race that changed the way we look at athletics.