Ben Johnson`s former coach dies of cancer at 61

Toronto: Charlie Francis, the disgraced former coach of scandal-plagued Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, died on Wednesday after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said in a statement. He was 61.

Johnson won the 1988 Olympic 100 metres but was stripped of his gold medal and world-record time after he tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol.

Francis told a national inquiry that he introduced Johnson to steroids and was banned from coaching by Athletics Canada.

He trained several of Canada`s top athletes before the ban and afterward worked briefly with disgraced U.S. sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.

A Canadian sprint champion himself, Francis was considered a leading expert on sprinting despite his association with steroid use.

He died in a Toronto hospital.

Bureau Report