It’s a sporting event that is etched into many minds. I remember watching it, and the scandal that resulted even today, more than two decades after it happened. 9.79 is a look at all the participants that took part in one of the most controversial track-and-field events of the last century; the 100 meters dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
The race that brought the consumption of performance enhancing drugs into the limelight as Ben Johnson, the winner, was found positive for taking them has gone down as a turning point in the history of sports. It is amongst one of the first few instances where consumption of banned substances in sports was talked about around the world in such detail. But, the documentary doesn’t simply stop at the scandal, rather through interviews it digs deeper into the psyche of the runners to uncover a world of back stabbings, conspiracies, steroid use, and as a result it leaves an astringent picture of sports in the minds of the many fans that enjoy it. Furthermore, the documentary also stands proof of the determination athletes have in order to achieve their goals and the pressures, both mental and physical, they endure to fulfill their dreams of being at the top of their league.
9.79, the time it took Ben Johnson to run the 100 meter dash, is a brilliant well researched documentary as it never judges the main “accused” nor the other participants, but instead presents everyone’s side of the story with equal depth and investigation. Unfortunately it doesn’t help the loss of faith in the sanctity of the sports that one ends up with as each passing year sees more and more cases of some form of “corruption” talking place in the various sporting events around the world.