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9.79*

  • 2012
  • Daniel Gordon
  • 82 mins
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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

9.79 seconds is the time set by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson when he smashed the 100m world record in the final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, annihilating a brilliant field that included our own Linford Christie and American golden boy Carl Lewis. The race subsequently became the most notorious in Olympic history when Johnson was disqualified for drug use a few days later. The scandal cast a pall over the sport that has lasted to the present day - Usain Bolt's record-smashing antics notwithstanding. Director Daniel Gordon's documentary goes beyond the event itself and discloses some stark revelations about the pervasiveness of doping - you'll never look at an athlete with tooth braces the same way again. The fact that most of the eight finalists in Seoul have had issues with drugs explains why it's cited as "the dirtiest race in history". Access to all the protagonists (each erudite and plain speaking) is a major bonus and the rivalry between Lewis and Johnson is a fascinating focal point - their disdain for each other is palpable, even in the contemporary interviews. Accusations of cover-ups and conspiracies raise some interesting but unanswered questions, and with plenty of crisply edited footage (accompanied by the distinctive tones of ace commentator David Coleman), this is a worthy and informative addition to the chronicle of sport.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Robson da SilvaRobson da Silva
Raymond StewartRaymond Stewart
Carl LewisCarl Lewis
Linford ChristieLinford Christie
Calvin SmithCalvin Smith
Ben JohnsonBen Johnson (4)
Desai WilliamsDesai Williams
Dennis MitchellDennis Mitchell
NarratorDavid Harewood

Crew

rolename
DirectorDaniel Gordon

Details

Theatrical distributor
Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Released on
2013-09-20
Languages
English
Guidance
Some swearing.
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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