Sports faces worldwide 'moral crisis'


TORONTO -- After nine months of testimony, the head of an inquiry into drug use in Canadian sport now faces the task of finding ways to stem the 'moral crisis' unearthed by its investigation.

'We believe, from the evidence led here, that there is a moral crisis in sport, not only in Canada, but on a worldwide scale,' commission counsel Bob Armstrong said Tuesday in his final submission to Justice Charles Dubin.


'It involves much more than cycling of testosterone or the stacking of Dianabol tablets by individual athletes. It involves an attitude of mind. It involves an erosion of the ethical value of society as a whole.'

Armstrong said athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs -- and the coaches and doctors who help them -- cheat themselves as well as other athletes.

Drug-users will never know what they could have achieved naturally while the greatest victims of all are those who had 'the guts to run, to jump, and to throw' clean, said Armstrong.

Whether through lack of resources, lack of will or the 'conspiracy of silence,' national and international track associations have failed to investigate drug use by athletes, Armstrong said.


He said Dubin should ask himself hard questions about the sincerity of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, he said.

'Ask yourself if, on the evidence you're heard, that organization is serious about making track and field a drug-free sport,' Armstrong told Dubin.

'Ask yourself if the recent actions of the IAAF in Barcelona do not represent the actions of an organization which fails to comprehend that the very foundations of its sport are threatened.'

Last month, the IAAF voted to strip world records from athletes who admit to drug use, retroactive for six years.

Sprinter Ben Johnson, who admitted to the inquiry he used steroids for seven years, will now lose his 100-meter world record of 9.83 seconds set in 1987, even though he passed the post-race drug test.

It was Johnson's failed drug test at the Seoul Olympics last year that prompted the inquiry.

Dubin closed the inquiry without outlining its achievements as he had planned. He said he feared his comments might be taken as conclusions he hasn't yet reached.

Dubin said he was satisfied the inquiry, though 'rather emotional at times,' resulted in a 'quiet, thorough investigation to seek the truth.'

His report, which is likely to determine Johnson's athletic fate, isn't expected until early 1990. The Canadian government has suspended Johnson for life from representing Canada in international competition.


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