Charlie Francis

Does anyone know what happened to Charlie Francis, Ben Johnson’s former track coach? Has anyone from gotten in touch with him about writing some training articles?

You’re not going to believe this, but I just got off the phone with Charlie Francis. He’s agreed to do an interview with T-mag in a week or two! Maybe I’ll ask him to pen a few articles for as well. We’ll see how the interview goes. I’m reading Speed Trap now and should be ready for the interview soon. Got any suggested questions for Charlie?

Yeah Chris,

Ask him for the training split he puts his athletes on. Also, are there any exercises outside the mainstream that he uses that produce outstanding results.

Also, does he believe that a genetically fast twitch challenged individual with the proper training could match a speed athlete?

Chris, I’m a huge Charlie Francis fan. I’d love to hear about Ben Johnsons strength feats from Charlie. It would be great if you could list Benoid’s OFFICIAL bests in the core exercises like the clean, chin, squat and bench. Also try to see if Ben’s 420+ benches were done with proper form and a slow eccentric tempo etc… It would also be nice to get a word or two out of him regarding today’s top sprinters. I’d love to hear out his opinion of Maurice Greene and whether or not his 9.79 was more due to the new ‘springy’ tracks of today or pure athleticism.

Ask him the details about performing heavy squats previous to running the 100 meters. I read Speed Trap, and tracked down Training for Speed. This guy was way ahead of the game, and I’m glad he’s doing an interview.

what is speed trap.

Speed Trap is Charlie’s book about the whole '88 Olympic fiasco where Ben was busted for using 'roids. Read it and you’ll never look at the Olympics the same way again. It’s hard to find, though, out of print. I got it from a library.

I’d like to know his oppinion on westside style speed work in the weightroom. I know in the past he has stated that sufficient speed stimulus is gained from sprinting sessions, and that lifting should be geared primarily towards the development of limit strength.

Chris, I’d like to know what tempo he has his athletes use when performing squats specifically and also what rep ranges they use throughout a training cycle,which brings to mind the following question-how long is a training cycle?

Questions for Mr.Francis

  1. What sports besides track and field did he/could he coach in ?
  2. What are his reccomendations for athletes to become (a) Bigger, (b) faster, (c) Stronger and (d) leaner ?
  3. Has he done any work in the last little while ?
  4. Why did our country (I am canadian) turn its back on him ? Was it all because of the '88 olympics 'roid bust ?

Question. I have read speed trap and it has been one of my favorite books for years. I was wondering why he hasn’t coached since the 88 Olympics and subsequent Dubin inquiry fiasco? I believe he was suspended but I am assuming that it is now over since Ben Johnson was allowed to compete. If the suspension was lifetime I would like to hear his thoughts on this. Personally as a Canadian I think he was screwed…lets take all medal winners and place them on the stand under the threat of perjury and see who is clean and who isn’t…It is a shame that a country wants there athletes to be competitive and yet punishes the coach for creating athletes that can finally compete internationally.

I would like to know Charlie’s opinion on why the world record in the 100m is still 9.79 when Ben Johnson achieved that in the 1988 Olympics. In 12 years, shouldn’t we have seen the improvement in track surfaces, advancement in nutrition, drug protocols, and training methods that would produce a faster time (Ben recently claimed he could run a 9.5 or 9.6 on today’s tracks)? Also, after reading Speed Trap, I would like to know if Charlie has any further insite on why Ben tested positive for stanazolol when he wasn’t knowingly taking it?

What does he think about Mo Greene /Donovan Bailey ?
Why does he feel the 9.79 has yet to fall ?
His thoughts on Michael Johnson ?
Does he feel that both Greene and Johnson faked injuries at the Trials ?
What did he think of the Bailey- Johnson race ?
He had a very conservative drug program -Why, and would his recommendations be different today ?
What training program would he write nowadays ?
Why was Ben caught (an update from Speed Trap) ? Why was (in the same race) Christie cleared after failing for ephedrine ?
What supplementation would he be most interested in ?

Which sprinter does he feel has the most promise to be the fastest of all time right now ?
What mistakes are todays sprinters making and how would you solve them ?

His thoughts on John Smith and HSI’s speed training programs ?

Chris - I have about a hundred more questions if you want them : )

Sure, Al, keep’em coming. Sounds like you know your stuff in this area.

For those of you who haven’t read Speed Trap, find it, read it, and then read it again. I’m not exactly naive about drugs and sports, but this book still made my jaw drop a few times.

I think before everybody starts dumping questions on Charlie Francis, you ought to read “Training for Speed” (previously published under the title “The Charlie Francis Training System”). 90% of the questions asked already were answered in this book.

What I want to know is:

  1. What are you doing with your life now?
  2. Was Carl Lewis on drugs?
  3. Do you think Brent McFarlane is a knowledgable coach, and is his book worth reading?

Ok Chris - here’s a few more :
The Nandralone cases - recently SEVERAL British athletes have failed tests for nandrolone and I believe they are claiming norandrodiol as their defence - any comments ?

What do you think a 100m drug free record could be ?

What do you think Mo Greene / Michael Johnson is capable of ?

What time do you feel Ben was capable of ?

Who is the best athlete you have ever seen ?

If you could give one piece of advice to athletes / coaches - what would it be ?

Ask him
if he was in the same postion today what kind of drug protocal would he used compared to then and why?

A few more !!–
The 200-400 double - MJ - did it surprise him – will this ever be repeated by another athlete ?
What time do you think Ben could have run ?
Why did Linford Christie and Colin Jackson (at the time training partners) appear to dominate the sprint events for so long in the early 90’s - were they taking something unique or were they really that ahead of everyone else ?
Why did it take so long for anyone to match 9.79 ?
What would most shock us about elite sprinting ?
Would he be interested in writing another training book or doing a Q & A for t-mag ?
Charley used a lot of EMS work on his athletes - does he feel it has been overlooked nowadays ?
What were his thoughts on the Bailey-johnson 150m fiasco ?