Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Greenham, C.


Ben Johnson, Canada, Doping, Dubin Inquiry, Influence, Resonance




Since Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for doping at the 1988 Olympic games, only two Canadian track and field Olympians have failed a drug test. ;2 This study examined how the sanctions imposed on Johnson following his transgression over thirty years ago, as well as the anti-doping policies created in response to Johnson’s positive test, resonated with Canadian track and field athletes and influenced their perspective about doping. Nine (n = 9) Canadian Olympians between the ages of 24 and 55 years (M = 36.67, SD = 9.63) having competed in at least one Olympic games since 1988 were interviewed. Thematic analysis revealed that participants across three eras (1990-2000, 2000-2010 and 2010-2019) believed Canada does not deal with a doping problem because a greater expectation of morality exists in their nation, the sanctions for doping are greater than in other countries, and drug testing and education is more frequent and extensive than in other countries. Olympians who competed in era one believe Johnson’s transgression had more influence on these reasons for competing cleanly in Canada than do participants of eras two and three. Indeed, as time goes by, Johnson’s sanctions have decreasing resonance with Canadian track and field Olympians, but the anti-doping policies established following Johnson’s doping scandal continue to promote clean competition in Canadian track and field in meaningful ways