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FLO-JO DID USE DRUGS TO WIN; Steroids transformed her says training friend.

Olympic sprint star Florence Griffith-Joyner did use drugs to boost her career, it was claimed yesterday.

Her former training partner Lorna Boothe revealed yesterday that Flo- Jo used a cocktail of steroids and testosterone to change from average athlete to world-beater.

The sprint legend died of a suspected heart attack on Monday, at the age of 38, after a career tainted with allegations of drug- taking.

Lorna, who is now manager of the British athletics team, said the American star regularly took a cocktail of drugs in the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The former Common-wealth silver medallist hurdler, who trained with Flo- Jo in Los Angeles, said she had not spoken out before because she was afraid she would be killed.

But she made the sensational allegations yesterday as a "warning"' to youngsters entering the sport.

She said: "I was astonished by the way Flo-Jo changed from the slightly overweight, sluggish sprinter I was easily able to beat in training in California."

Flo-Jo, famous for her long fingernails and trademark skin-tight one- legged suits, won three Olympic golds in 1988 and set world records in the 100 and 200 metres which still stand today.

Some current sprinters, still unable to approach Griffith-Joyner's amazing world records of 10.49 and 21.34 seconds for the sprints, were quick to point the finger of suspicion yesterday.

Australian Tania Van-Heer, a medallist at the Commonwealth Games which have just finished in Kuala Lumpur, said: "There was always a very strong rumour she was on something.

"I'm sorry for her family, but she didn't think about them too much.''

It was the physical changes to Griffith-Joyner in the latter stages of her career that first aroused suspicion.

Her voice deepened and her performances on the track rivalled even top male athletes.

Jacques Piasenta, coach of European 100metres champion Christine Arron, said: "I saw her change at an astonishing rate. With her times, she could almost get into the men's 4 x100metres."

Xavier Sturbois, deputy chairman of Belgium's Olympic Committee and chairman of its medical commission, said: "Athletes, as well as coaches, will draw lessons from this death."
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Author:Armstrong, Jeremy
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 23, 1998
Words:355
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