Canadian sprinter Charlie Francis made it to the quarter-finals of the 100 m event at the 1972 Summer Olympics, but his results here would one day become little more than a footnote to his notoriety. Prior to his Olympic appearance he was an Ontario high school champion in the 1960s and won a medal every year in the 100 m event at the Canadian National Championships from 1968 through 1972, including two gold (he would win a third gold medal in the event in 1973).
At the 1971 Pan American Games he finished sixth in the 100 metres. After attending Stanford University on an athletic scholarship, he retired as an active competitor and became a prolific coach in Canada. His former pupils, including Olympic silver medalist Angella Taylor-Issajenko, lauded his generosity on all levels.
Francis’ most famous mentee, however, was Ben Johnson, who lost an Olympic gold medal and two world records in the 100 m discipline after being disqualified for doping. When the Canadian government began investigating substance abuse in athletics in the Dubin Inquiry, Francis testified to the rampant use of doping in the sport and admitted that he had introduced his runners to drugs in order for them to remain competitive.
He received a lifetime ban from Athletics Canada in 1989 but continued to work as a personal trainer to numerous professional athletes in addition to coaching in the United States. Among his students in America were Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones, both of whom went on to win Olympic gold and later admit to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Francis also had two works on sprinting published: Speed Trap in 1991 and Training for Speed in 1997. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2005 and died from the disease five years later, at the age of 61.
Personal Best: 100 – 10.1 (1971).
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1972 Summer Olympics||Athletics||CAN||Charlie Francis|
|100 metres, Men (Olympic)||8 h4 r2/4|
|200 metres, Men (Olympic)|