Today, the 1988 Seoul Olympiad Commemorative Silver Dollar tells the story of silver turning into gold.
Twenty-six years ago today, he won the silver Olympic medal with a time of 9.92s in the 100 meter sprint behind the gold runner with an Olympic and World record time of 9.79s.
Two days later, however, that silver turned into gold and his race time of 9.92s became the Olympic record after the gold runner tested positive for steroids.
The winning gold runner was Carl Lewis after Olympic officials stripped Ben Johnson of Canada of his medal and his record.
This was not the first Olympic experience for Carl Lewis, or his first gold.
He had qualified for the 1980 games; however, the US boycotted that competition.
In 1984 at the LA Olympics, Lewis won four gold medals, one of which was the 100m sprint.
In the 1984 100m, Lewis ran a time of 9.99s for the gold. Ben Johnson won bronze with a time of 10.22s.
In 1988 in addition to the gold for the 100m, Lewis also won gold for the long jump and silver for the 200m.
In Barcelona in 1992, Lewis won two golds, one for the 4x100m relay and one for the long jump.
For his final Olympic competition in Atlanta in 1996, Lewis won gold in the long jump.
As for the 1988 games, Ben Johnson claimed one of the US teammates spiked the liquid he drank to produce the sample for the drug test.
In backhanded support, some claimed that drug use had become so prevalent the athletes knew when to stop taking the enhancement drugs such that they could pass the post-competition test.
So, was Johnson’s claim true or false? Only they – Johnson and the man he accused – know for sure.
During the time, one newspaper called the 1988 100m sprint “the dirtiest race in history.”
Later in 1989, world officials also removed Johnson’s previous world record time of 9.83s at the 1987 World event in Rome, Italy.
That action made the 1988 Carl Lewis time of 9.92s both an Olympic record and a world record.
That record no longer stands. Today, the 100m Olympic record is 9.63s (2012) with the World record at 9.58s (2009).
The 1988 Seoul Olympiad Commemorative Silver Dollar coin rests against a racing track background.