Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Poster: Living in the Past
Subject: RE: Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis in 1988: How Big a Deal was the Race?
I don't think the anticipation was all that big of a deal. Carl Lewis was well known, but he was never extremely popular, although the public did warm up to him a little bit towards the end of his career.
Lewis came across as a prima donna, and a lot of people hadn't even heard of Ben Johnson. So there was no real anticipation except among hardcore track fans. There was far more hysteria leading up to the Mile of the Century between Ryun and Liquori.
The 100 meter race in 1988 was pretty incredible, as Johnson rocketed out of the blocks and managed to hold his lead. It wasn't until afterwards, when Johnson tested positive, that the race became high profile and was replayed a million times on television. It was bad publicity for the sport.
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