Canadian track and field coach Charlie Francis dies at age 61

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Canadian track and field coach Charlie Francis has died at the age of 61. The cause of death was announced as cancer by his family. Francis had been battling the disease for five years.

Francis had worked with several athletes including disgraced runner Ben Johnson. Johnson won a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was later disqualified after testing positively for steroid use. During a national enquiry Francis admitted introducing Johnson to steroid use.

During the enquiry Francis spoke about Johnson’s steroid use saying that "He could decide either he wanted to participate at the highest levels in sport or not. If he wanted to compete, it's pretty clear that steroids are worth approximately a meter at the highest levels of sport”.

After the enquiry Francis was banned for life by Athletics Canada. He briefly trained Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones for a time in 2003. He continued to believe that steroids are necessary in athletics.