Let’s look at the good Ben Johnson did. He handled reporters well as an up and coming track star in the eighties.
The steroids he took were not a magic bullet. He still had to train strongly to attain his muscle mass and his explosiveness and speed. Rumours have it that he wasn’t the only track star using steroids in 1988. He was just the one who had his gold medal in the 100 meters taken away.
And he had success before the Seoul Olympics. Perhaps he wasn’t a cheater back then.
I remember how proud Ben made Canadians in the mid eighties. The fastest man in the world lived here. What a turnaround from the Montreal Olympics in ’76 when Canada achieved no gold medals at all.
Some would ban Ben for all time from getting the Order of Canada. Representing some of the highest achievements in all of Canada, the Order of Canada is a privilege to the recipient. Ordinarily I’d agree with Ben being banned. But another famous Canadian cheater, Ralph Klein just got one.
If you don’t know, Ralph Klein was the premier of Alberta when he took a university course. For the purposes of the rest of this article I’ll ignore that the top person in the province was even allowed to take an education course and have it count, when education is a provincial responsibility. Anyway, an essay of Klein’s leaked and it was found to a great degree of certainty that large parts of it were plagiarized from other works.
I know people feel sorry for Ralph Klein, now, as he has developed dementia and has other health concerns. But giving out Orders of Canada out of sympathy seems like a bad precedent. Surely others have had bigger sob stories than being premier of a province.
Does this mean that if Ben Johnson has a protracted illness before death, that he, too, will be given an Order of Canada? I think that is only fair. This puts our famous cheaters on par with one another.
And a small cautionary tale for the kiddies. Notice how Ralph Klein avoided some thinking in his course? They say that to avoid dementia later in life, it helps to exercise the brain regularly. Apparently Ralph Klein didn’t do this and ended up with dementia. Now, cheating in education doesn’t guarantee dementia. But if you wish to minimize your risk you should avoid it.
UPDATE: An anonymous source told me that Ben Johnson does have an Order of Canada and that it has never been taken away. So that mostly eradicates the points I tried to make. My major point was that a major cheater like Ralph Klein (and now Ben Johnson) should not have an Order of Canada. Four other Orders of Canada have been taken away. Maybe we can add these two to that list.