A tearful Ben Johnson, publicly scolded for lying to Canadians who believed in him after his Olympic disgrace, appealed for another chance to prove he can be the world's fastest man without steroids.

The judge leading the federal inquiry into drugs and athletics formed after Johnson returned home from the Seoul Olympics proclaiming his innocence reminded the athlete of his statements last fall when he said he never "knowingly" used illegal drugs."I think it's fair to say most Canadians wanted to believe that. You understand that - everybody felt kindly to you," Ontario Associate Justice Charles Dubin said as Johnson's two days before the inquiry ended.

"Did you not realize how important it was? What a disservice it was to sign a statement like that and make the interview?" the judge asked him.

"I did wrong. But, like I said, I was confused at the time," Johnson said.

Johnson for the first time admitted steroid use starting in 1981 and continuing to include injections within weeks of setting the 9.83-second world record at Rome in 1987 and the Olympics last September.

Johnson said he took steroids on the advice of his coach, Charlie Francis, and sports physician, Dr. Jamie Astaphan. He said he was aware that they were banned substances but did not know their potential for harmful side effects.

He also said he took no substances on his own after receiving his last injection Aug. 28 from Astaphan.