Gee, how many of these sprinters are juiced up?
9.79 (Daniel Gordon). 77 minutes. Screens as part of the Canadian Sport Film Festival Saturday (June 8) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. See Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NNN
No nation experienced the 100-metre race at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul the way we did in Canada. It was a wild roller-coaster ride of emotions, from the thrill of Ben Johnson's victory to the agony of his failed drug test.
Daniel Gordon's 9.79, named for Johnson's winning time, is ostensibly an attempt to talk to all eight finalists about the events leading up to the race, the intense rivalry between Johnson and America's Carl Lewis and the atmosphere that day at the track.
But the essence of the doc is its focus on athletic competition's drug culture. It recalls the prevalence of drug use at the time and the athletes' sense that without performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals they could never win.
Testimony to the depth of corruption within the Olympic ranks is the fact that no other country except Canada has undertaken a full-scale inquiry into drug use - they're afraid of what would become public.
Three of the 1988 finalists were later caught using steroids: Linford Christie, Dennis Mitchell and, yes, Johnson again.
Lewis, the so-called Mr. Clean, comes across as tainted, too.
What's missing from this intriguing study, however, is a proper update on whether the folks in charge of international athletic competitions are close to eliminating the drug scourge.
But the sight of those bulked-up bods sure brings back memories.