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Charles Dubin, who investigated Ben Johnson, dies

October 27, 2008 |  7:25 pm

Charles Dubin When the Mitchell Report came out last year, it was a mere 17 years late.

That was how long it took for any U.S. sport to produce anything remotely comparable to the Dubin Report, the 638-page document the Canadian government commissioned in response to the positive steroid test of sprinter Ben Johnson during the 1988 Summer Olympics.

The eminently fair but relentless judge who presided over the inquiry that resulted in that report was Charles Dubin, the former chief justice of the province of Ontario. He died Monday of pneumonia. He was 87.

When it came to recognize the depth of steroid use among athletes, the Canadians were ahead of much of the world, far ahead of the United States. When Ben Johnson was caught, the Canadians didn't ask just whether he had a problem. They asked whether Canada had a problem.

After months of testimony from athletes, coaches, trainers and administrators from throughout the world, Dubin concluded that sports, not just Olympic sports or Canadian sports, were facing a "moral crisis.''

The cause? We have seen the enemy and it is us. He pointed a finger at virtually everyone associated with sports--not just those who play and coach them but fans, marketers, media, etc. All of us, he said, expect too much success from our athletes and place too much blame when they don't succeed.

Did Dubin solve the problem?


Did a lot of people outside of Canada pay much attention?

Apparently not, especially not to the south of the Canadian border.

But he addressed it a long time in a serious manner long before anyone else did.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Charles Dubin, seen here in Toronto in 1989, led an inquiry into athletes and doping after Ben Johnson's ouster from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Credit: Hans Deryk / The Canadian Press / The Associated Press