Mary Ormsby on Ben Johnson: The World's Fastest Man*

Welcome with Karim Kanji

11-04-2024 • 30 mins

Welcome to the podcast....Mary Ormsby! Mary and I discuss Mary's upcoming book, "World's Fastest Man*," which focuses on Ben Johnson's life and career including the process of researching and uncovering new perspectives on events from the past. We also delved into the 1988 Seoul Olympics, discussing our individual experiences during the event and the cultural significance of the Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis rivalry. Mary recounted her journey to writing Ben Johnson's book, detailing her initial resistance due to her lack of experience and discomfort with the subject matter. She explained how she eventually agreed after retiring from her job at the Star and receiving encouragement from Ben, despite feeling uncomfortable with the idea of being the one to tell his story. Mary also reflected on her belief in the miscarriage of justice surrounding Ben's story, expressing her determination to do her best to understand and tell his story. This episode also explored the complex dynamics between Ben Johnson and his coach, Charlie Francis, shedding light on Francis's coaching techniques and the introduction of performance-enhancing drugs into Johnson's training regimen. We also examined the prevalent culture of drug use in the 1980s athletic community and Johnson's decision to use steroids despite the ethical implications. The discussion provided insight into the blurred lines between fair competition and rule-breaking, as well as the impact of these factors on Johnson's mindset and career trajectory. For more information on Mary Ormsby's book please visit: https://sutherlandhousebooks.com/product/worlds-fastest-man/

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