On the Beijing Beat: Big Bad Ben ready to bare Seoul two decades on...

It is not exactly the first time that Ben Johnson has been brought to book. Indeed, tomorrow's eagerly awaited men's 100 metres final in the "Bird's Nest" stadium will mark the 20th anniversary of the notorious occasion on which the Canadian speed merchant went "From hero to zero in 9.79 seconds", as the headline in the Toronto Sun memorably put it.

Two decades on from his steroid-fuelled world record Olympic run, Big Bad Ben is busy working on his autobiography, Seoul to Soul. "The book will include explosive information and confessions surrounding the events in Seoul and the aftermath," the 46-year-old promises.

Since testing positive after his comeback from suspension and getting banned for life in 1993, Johnson has been involved in a variety of unlikely projects. He has worked as a personal trainer to the footballing son of the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (his publicist's forecast that he would win a Nobel Peace Prize for it fell slightly short of the mark), and been hired to promote an energy drink called Cheetah Surge Power.

"I cheetah all of the time," was his punchline in a television advertisement.

Chambers quicker off writer's blocks

Dwain Chambers has never cheetah-ed his way to tainted Olympic gold, but he has been quicker out of his starting blocks than Ben Johnson. Having won the 100m final at the British Olympic trials in Birmingham last month but subsequently seen his Beijing selection quashed in the High Court, the Londoner has been making use of his gardening leave from life in the fast lane by penning an autobiography with publishers Libros International. With a working title of My Way, Chambers says in a synopsis that he will "name names" on the drugs front, and tell tales of his womanising. "I also tell how I slept with the sister of an England footballer and a gold medal-winning athlete from America," he writes. "And read about that one and only disaster date with Kelly Holmes."

Memories of night I beat Johnson

No tales of that nature to tell here (honest, Mrs Turnbull). Your diarist cannot match Dwain Chambers on that particular scoring front, but he can boast of the night he beat Ben Johnson. The setting was the Villa Miani overlooking Rome. It was the rest day at the 1987 World Championship. Three days after his world record 100m run of 9.83sec down the road in the Stadio Olimpico, the not-yet-so-bad Big Ben – clad in designer suit – removed his leather slip-ons, donned a pair of running spikes, and got to his marks on a four-lane 10m strip of synthetic track laid out at the foot of the villa steps. His reaction time off the starting blocks was 0.184sec. The gauntlet had been thrown for any have-a-go guests to challenge. The Durham County Schools' 100m champion of 1976 managed it in 0.158sec. And he was never in danger of testing positive for anything stronger than EPO – ahem, Evening Primrose Oil, that is.

Simon Turnbull

Word on the street

Surname: Guo.

Given name: Yufan.

Sex: Male.

Age: 14.

Birthplace: Tianjin, visiting Beijing for the day.

Occupation: Chuzhong or middle school student.

Interview conducted during a downpour at the Shunyi Olympic Water Park.

How much attention have you been paying to the Games? Quite a bit; it's all over the TV, you can't miss it. Today we have come to Beijing especially to watch the rowing. I don't know much about rowing and can't name any rowers, but they were the only tickets we could get. We left it a bit late so my mum and I had to buy them on the Internet. We got them for face value so that wasn't too bad.

The weather's terrible, how do you feel about today? So disappointed! Not much I can do about it though, hopefully, they will let us back tomorrow. Transport has been a nightmare – there were so many buses but they were only filling them one by one! I saw a lot of people with British flags, they didn't seem very happy either.

Apart from China, are there any other teams or sportsmen that you feel strongly about, and why? Not really. I often go for the underdog. I would support Britain if they had a football team. Hong Kong and Taiwan enter separately – why can't England do that?

What are the best and worst things about the Olympic Games in Beijing? It's a chance to show the world just how friendly we are and that we are capable of pulling such a big thing off. As for the bad things: there are too many people around and it has cost us a lot of money.

Jeremy Webb

Alternative guide

The detention earlier this week of the ITN reporter John Ray during a pro-Tibet demonstration should, perhaps, have come as no surprise. According to an article in Beijing's leading financial magazine Caijing, in the eyes of some of the Olympic volunteers responsible for receiving the Western media, foreign journalists are no different from "fierce floods and savage beasts".

The article describes how the volunteers have been allegedly trained to face the media. They are told, for example, that where possible they should respond to journalists' questions with a polite: "I do not know the specific circumstances." The report quotes one volunteer who says that it is his job to "prevent drugs, prevent bombs and prevent journalists".

There has been no official reaction to these claims but online opinion has begun to raise doubts over the report's accuracy. Although the volunteers we spoke to were not willing to confirm the main points of the article, we did not hear a single "I do not know the specific circumstances".

Jeremy Webb

Today at the Games

09.30 Track cycling

Competition at the velodrome gets under way with qualifying for the team sprint, in which Britain has high hopes of a medal. It could be the first of three for Chris Hoy, who also races in the individual sprint and keirin. The first round is at 10.45 and the finals are at 11.40.

07.10 Rowing Three more British boats attempt to reach the finals in semi-finals postponed from yesterday: the lightweight women's double sculls (08.30), the lightweight men's double sculls (08.50) and the lightweight men's four (09.20).

11.57 Swimming Men's 1500m freestyle heats, including Britain's David Davies (pictured), a bronze winner in Athens.

14.00 Hockey Britain's men need a result against South Africa after their unlucky defeat against the Dutch.

What you may have missed overnight...

03.16 Swimming Men's 200m backstroke final. Britain's Gregor Tait was among the finalists for the second successive Olympics.

03.45 Swimming Men's 200m individual medley final, with Michael Phelps seeking gold No 6 of these Games. James Goddard and Liam Tancock were swimming for Britain.

04.01 Swimming Women's 100m freestyle final, featuring another of Team GB's promising teenagers, Fran Halsall.

04.15 Gymnastics Women's individual all-around final.

04.35 Archery Britain's Alan Wills was competing in the last 16 of the men's individual event. Quarter-finals at 09.00, semi-finals at 09.52 and medal contests at 10.21.

05.00 Judo Britain's Karina Bryant had hopes of a medal in the women's over 78kg category. The final starts at 11.00.

05.00 Sailing Following yesterday's postponed racing, Britain's Ben Ainslie and the Yngling crew continue to defend their leads.

Coming up later today...

09.55 Track cycling Qualifying for the men's individual pursuit, with Bradley Wiggins defending his Olympic title. Steven Burke also goes for Britain.

11.00 Track cycling Britain's Rebecca Romero, who is world champion, and Wendy Houvenaghel attempt to qualify in the women's individual pursuit.

11.30 Swimming Women's 50m freestyle heats, including Britain's Fran Halsall in her preferred discipline.

12.15 Equestrianism Showjumping qualifying.

14.00 Football China's women take on Japan in the pick of the quarter-finals.

If you want to stay up late tonight...

03.07 Swimming Michael Phelps races in his seventh final, the 100m butterfly, followed by the women's 800m.

Weather watch

A hot and humid day with rain likely. Temperatures will reach 31C.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power