In the history of the Olympics, there's never been a controversy quite like what ensued over the 100 meter race at Seoul in 1988. The match brought together Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson... See full summary »


Daniel Gordon


Daniel Gordon, Nick Packer (as Nicholas Packer)





Episode credited cast:
Don Catlin Don Catlin ... Self (as Dr. Don Catlin)
Linford Christie Linford Christie ... Self
Robson da Silva Robson da Silva ... Self
Joe Douglas Joe Douglas ... Self
David Harewood ... Self - Narrator
John Hoberman John Hoberman ... Self (as Dr. John Hoberman)
Angella Issajenko Angella Issajenko ... Self
André Action Jackson André Action Jackson ... Self
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson ... Self
Carl Lewis ... Self
Dennis Mitchell Dennis Mitchell ... Self
Mary Ormsby Mary Ormsby ... Self
Dick Pound Dick Pound ... Self
Calvin Smith Calvin Smith ... Self
Raymond Stewart Raymond Stewart ... Self


In the history of the Olympics, there's never been a controversy quite like what ensued over the 100 meter race at Seoul in 1988. The match brought together Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson (Canada) who had been fierce competitors. Lewis was known as a savvy careerist who became an American hero at the previous Los Angeles Olympics. Johnson was his chief rival, considered an underdog due to his recovery from a pulled hamstring. In less than 10 seconds, Johnson edged out in front of Lewis to win the Seoul race. But that wasn't the end. Three days later, in a reversal of fortune, the Olympic committee announced that Johnson had failed a drug test, losing his medal to Lewis in disgrace. A mystery still shrouds the race. Was Johnson exceptional in his drug usage or merely the fall guy for a widespread practice? Six of the eight finalists in the 1988 race have since been implicated for drugs -- although some still deny any wrongdoing. Filmmaker Daniel Gordon, digs into the controversy, ... Written by ESPN Films

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Features Seoul 1988: Games of the XXIV Olympiad (1988) See more »

User Reviews

Wow...what a bunch of jerks!
26 December 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I enjoy ESPN's "30 for 30" sports documentaries, though occasionally they have shown one where I really had a hard time liking any of the folks featured. This didn't make the film bad--just perhaps a bit less enjoyable than usual. "9.79*" is definitely an example of one of those tough to like group of athletes, as by the end I pretty much hated them all!

The film is about the 100 meter final in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Although Canada's Ben Johnson won the race, he was later disqualified due to performance enhancing drugs. The film is about this as well as the general problem of such drugs in the 1980s.

What did I learn from this film? Well, most of the finalists in the 100 meters are total jerks! Not surprisingly, Johnson makes a lot of excuses and comes off like a kid who is sorry...only after it's been proved conclusively that he's a cheater. And, he clearly is a cheater. His excuse seems to be 'everybody's doing it'--and after seeing the film, you come to think that this might be true--as MANY of the finalists were later caught cheating as well, but in other competitions. And, many of them also whine and make excuses. Overall, this is the sort of sorry group who make folks like me hate sports and watch less and less and less of the Olympics as the years pass. A great example of a bunch of pathetic 'athletes', but still a well made film. Just because these runners are weasels doesn't mean the filmmakers didn't do an excellent job!!

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9 October 2012 (USA) See more »

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