/Bolton’s Smith tells all about 1988 Olympic race

Bolton’s Smith tells all about 1988 Olympic race

Calvin Smith, Bolton’s own Calvin Smith, would walk into your living space and tell you that he used to be the fastest man on earth. Smith is a humble and soft-spoken man who would not tell you. Smith is as humble and unassuming as he is fast. He has never bragged about his accomplishments. Even when he broke his 15-year-old 100m dash world record, Smith didn’t seek the spotlight. Smith held the record for almost four years. It is impossible to know how long Smith’s record would have held if it wasn’t for other runners who were running faster than him, possibly on steroids. Smith’s book, “It Should Have Been Gold: Silent Runner Speaks”, is all the more compelling because of this. Smith, who has been long silent on the subject, admits that he was cheated of his 1988 Olympics world record and a medal. It hurt. Smith, a 55-year old social worker from Tampa, will be the official starter for the 20th annual Farm Bureau Watermelon Run in Mississippi on July 4. After the race, Smith will be available for signing copies of the book. Smith, who was asked by Kerry Kendall why he co-authored the book, replied that “people need to know truth.” It’s history. He wanted to record everything that happened during my time as a runner.” This meant that he had some issues to address. He wanted to record his side of the story. It is now. Smith was part in the most notoriously sinister Olympic race. Remember? It took place in Seoul on September 24, 1988. The Canadian Ben Johnson, a muscular and strong man, won the race. Linford Christie was third, Carl Lewis second, and Linford Christie third. Smith was fourth. Smith finished fourth after Johnson was tested positive for anabolic steroids. Smith received the bronze medal underneath the stadium without ceremony a day later. Smith was the only person among the top five finishers to not have tested positive for banned substances. Smith believed he was worthy of the gold. Smith replied, “What can I do?” Smith said that in many cases the sport had condoned athletes using drugs. Ben was a typical example of what was happening in the sport at that time.” Track and field continues to be fraught with controversy almost 38 years later. Russia’s track and fields team was barred from the Olympic Games because of a doping conspiracy. This is an unusual punishment in Olympic history. Smith was unsurprised, however. Smith stated, “When I was competing we knew that a lot Russian athletes were using drug.” That’s the truth. You know what’s going on if you are in the sport of competing. We knew who was cheating.” Smith was slightly built for sprinting, and could have gained speed from steroid-aided workouts. Smith said that while he was still at Alabama, he made the decision to stay drug-free. Smith stated that no matter what happened, he knew he would do it right. Smith said that the reaction to his book was “largely positive.” However, he isn’t sure that the book provides him with closure. He said that “it is what it was” and that the 1988 medal is still bronze. Calvin Smith said, “At the very least,” that “the truth is printed.” It’s there for the record.” Rick Cleveland writes a weekly sports column running Fridays at Mississippitoday.org. To support this work, make a regular donation today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story.