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  • The Dirtiest Race in History

  • Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100M Final
  • By: Richard Moore
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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The Dirtiest Race in History

By: Richard Moore
Narrated by: Traber Burns
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Publisher's Summary

The 1988 Seoul Olympics played host to what has been described by some as the dirtiest race of all time, by others as the greatest. The final of the men's 100 metres at those Olympics is certainly the most infamous in the history of athletics, and more indelibly etched into the consciousness of the sport, the Olympics, and a global audience of millions, than any other athletics event before or since.

Ben Johnson's world-record time of 9.79 seconds - as thrilling as it was - was the beginning rather than the end of the story. Following the race, Johnson tested positive, news that generated as many - if not more - shockwaves as his fastest ever run. He was stripped of the title, with Lewis awarded the gold medal, Linford Christie the silver and Calvin Smith the bronze.

More than two decades on, the story still hadn't ended. In 1999 Lewis was named Sportsman of the Century by the IOC, and Olympian of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Yet his reputation was damaged by revelations that he too used performance-enhancing drugs, and tested positive prior to the Seoul Olympics. Christie also tested positive in Seoul but his explanation, that the banned substance had been in ginseng tea, was accepted. Smith, now a lecturer in English literature at a Florida university, was the only athlete in the top five whose reputation remains unblemished - the others all tested positive at some stage in their careers.

Containing remarkable new revelations, this book uses witness interviews - with Johnson, Lewis and Smith among others - to reconstruct the build-up to the race, the race itself, and the fallout when news of Johnson's positive test broke and he was forced into hiding. It also examines the rivalry of the two favourites going into it, and puts the race in a historical context, examining its continuing relevance on the sport today, where every new record elicits scepticism.

©2012 Richard Moore (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dirtiest Race in History

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Great book

Brings back a lot of memories from a dramatic time in sports history. There aren't a lot of heroes in this story but it's well worth listening to.

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  • sosnows8
  • 08-07-2020

Great story

Enjoyed the story. Narrator is compelling. There are so many flawed people in this story that you can't help but have your mind blown away.

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  • Dr Will O'Connor
  • 13-01-2017

amazing

if you're interested in doping in sports you'll enjoy this book. A lot of details.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 30-01-2015

Sad sad story

An in depth look back at the events leading up to and surrounding the race that changed the way we look at athletics.

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  • Shane canning
  • 16-09-2022

amazing

5 star fantastic story off the events leading to 1988 100 meters and after it

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3 people found this helpful

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  • Kennedy
  • 17-05-2019

Great story....strange narration

This is one of the best known sports stories of all time and I was really looking forward to listening to all the back stories that are connected to it. The major problem I have with this is the narrator. For some reason he reads ALL the spoken dialogue with different accents for each person. Ben Johnson sounds like an old Jamaican and he’s decided to make Carl Lewis sound like Michael Jackson!!!! I gave the book 10 minutes but I couldn’t take anymore of the narrator, such a shame!!!

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  • I. Price
  • 12-04-2022

Great story, terrible narration!

Really enjoyed the story and felt compelled to finally buy it after Richard’s untimely passing.
However, the narration is truly awful and detracts from the overall work.

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1 person found this helpful

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  • Ian Tomkins
  • 25-08-2021

A great story marred by the narrator

I found this a riveting story with lots of research and interviews with all of the main characters. I learnt a lot more about what was going on behind the scenes.
I found the narrator very distracting, and with one particular choice of accent for a character I found it very troubling. Hopefully this can be re-recorded?

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  • Majordamo
  • 22-03-2021

The voiceover ruined it. I had to stop

a brilliant book, which I've read before.

unfortunately this reading is unbearable because the reader insists on imitating Johnson's Jamaican accent. despite the book being full of French, American, British , German characters, this is the only accent he deems needs to be mimicked. it's so bad that it just angers me.

I stopped after a few chapters and asked for a refund, unable to listen to more.

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  • Abi
  • 14-06-2016

Insightful

This is probably the best sports book I've listened to or read. I remember the furore that the drugs scandal caused at the time and vaguely recall references to " the mystery man". Well worth a listen

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  • rowland
  • 15-09-2015

Excellent..👊

....This is an excellent account of the day we all remember the 100 m final ..👍

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  • ~StevieB~
  • 20-01-2024

Fantastic glimpse at Seoul 88

The entire story was excellent, information from all areas to get the best picture of what actually happened in 1988.
The downside of the book and something that's quite off putting is the narrator insisting on doing accents from people he's interviewed around the world, Scottish and English accents were terrible, and the less said about a white guy doing a Jamaican accent, the better.
Still worth stumping up a credit for it.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jamieroo
  • 08-12-2022

Great insight from a sadly missed writer.

Loved the story and the meticulous detail from this infamous race, the back story and the aftermath.
If I had to pick fault, the narrator’s accents were a little jarring, Especially Ben Johnson’s Jamaican drawl.
Overall, I would highly recommend this story of ambition, greed and skullduggery.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-10-2022

Cod Jamaican accent

I should say this is a very well written book. Manages to make the passages describing a 100m race tense and very dramatic, even though I can remember the original result.

I was a little disappointed that really the story is almost exclusively about Ben Johnson, rather than the steroid using histories of (nearly all) the participants in the 1988 Olympic 100m, but maybe that is because I am British and wanted to find out exactly what Linford Christie had been getting up to.

However the listening experience is marred by the sensational decision to have the narrator mimic Ben Johnson’s Jamaican accent.
There is a half hearted attempt at mimicking a Scottish accent, but everyone else speaks in the voice of the narrator.

This would have been an eyebrow raising choice in 1988, how the hell anyone thought it would be acceptable in the smartphone era.

At the very least, it makes the whole experience embarrassing, like having
to endure your divorced Uncle go on about immigrants at a family Christmas

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