TORONTO -- Decathlete Dave Steen, bronze medalist at the Seoul Olympics, asked Canadian track officials in Jan. 1988 to test him for banned drugs 'anywhere and at any time starting as soon as possible.'
Steen, an anti-drug advocate, told a government inquiry Thursday that he made the request in writing to the Canadian Track and Field Association to avoid 'guilt by association.'
The use of performance-enhancing drugs was so widespread in Canada and abroad that athletes who didn't use drugs were in the minority, he wrote.
Only by volunteering for random testing could he avoid being lumped in with the numbers of athletes taking drugs, he felt.
'I am asking to be drug tested on a 'consistent' basis for the remainder of my athletic career,' he wrote. 'You have my permission to test me anywhere and at any time starting as soon as possible. The reason I am requesting to be tested is that I wish to be put beyond suspicion.'
The CTFA responded that Steen's name would be put into the draw for an out-of-competition testing program which was to start in April 1988, 'subject to budgetary approvals.'
The program wasn't implemented and Steen wasn't tested.
Steen, only the second 'clean' track athlete to give evidence at the inquiry into drug use in Canadian sport, was held up by commission counsel as a 'living example' that it was possible to succeed in elite sport without drugs.
The inquiry was prompted by Ben Johnson's positive test for steroids at the Seoul Olympics. The Canadian sprinter was subsequently stripped of his gold medal in the men's 100 meters and suspended from competition for two years.
Johnson, who has since maintained he never 'knowingly' took banned drugs, is scheduled to take the stand when the hearings resume June 12.
Steen also testified that Johnson's doctor may have given him steroids, which he did not use, on a 1987 visit to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Steen's wife, then a medical student, was doing an elective course under Dr. Mario (Jamie) Astaphan and the decathlete went with her to train.
Steen said that Astaphan handed him a white envelope containing syringes and a bottle and told him it was a present.
Since it was unlike the vitamin B12 which Steen previously had received from Astaphan, he decided to return the bottle to the doctor.
Steen said Astaphan later suggested that the bottle contained Winstrol derivatives. Winstrol contains the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
'He (Astaphan) also told me...that I should realize that there are a lot of decathletes from different countries that are taking drugs and that I should maybe be a little bit concerned about being competitive,' said Steen.
Steen also testified that Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, suggested that Steen use steroids when they began working together in 1986.
'He (Francis) felt as if you had to be involved in steroids to get to the top few places in the world,' said Steen. 'And he had suggested to me a number of times ... the way he would do it was he'd sort of say, 'When are you going to get serious?' He had thought it was a good idea for me to get on drugs at the time.'
Under cross-examination by Francis's lawyer, Steen said that Francis had stopped urging Steen to use drugs after three months while continuing to coach him for almost two years.
Steen also testified that Astaphan told him he'd turned down a $700,000 offer to tell his story to Sports Illustrated after the 1987 world championships, where Johnson set a world record of 9.83 seconds for the 100 meters.
Steen also told Charles Dubin, who heads the commission, that random testing is probably the 'best immediate step we can take' but that it alone would not solve the drug problem in Canadian sport.
Steen said that a return to the original ethics and morals of sport through education of young people is the only answer.
'If we have young people coming into the sport with a different attitude about it, that'll make the difference,' said Steen.