Charlie Francis

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Charles Merrick "Charlie" Francis (October 13, 1948 – May 12, 2010) was a sprint coach most noteworthy for being the trainer of sprinter Ben Johnson, the first competitor to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs, and sprinters Angella Issajenko, Mark McKoy, and Desai Williams. Francis was banned by Athletics Canada following his admissions at the 1989 Dubin inquiry that he had introduced Johnson to steroids.

Francis was born in Toronto, Ontario. As an athlete, he was the Canadian 100 metres sprint champion in 1970, 1971, and 1973. He reached the second round of the Munich Olympics in 1972 with times of 10.51 and 10.68. His personal best was 10.1 at the Pan Am trials in Vancouver in 1971.

Francis went to Stanford University on a track scholarship and after retiring as an athlete, became a coach — guiding his athletes to 250 Canadian records, 32 world records, and nine Olympic medals.

At 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, athletes coached by Charlie won 8 of 14 medals acquired by Canada’s track team. Charlie Francis forged one of the world’s leading sprint teams whose runners set 250 Canadian records, 32 world records and won 9 Olympic medals.

Francis was coach at the Scarborough Optimists track and field club when Johnson joined the club at age 15. He later...
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