Charles Francis (born October 13, 1948 in Toronto, Ontario) is a sprint coach most noteworthy for being the trainer of sprinter Ben Johnson, the first competitor to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal for using banned drugs, and sprinters Angella Issajenko, Mark McKoy and Desai Williams. Francis was banned by Athletics Canada following his admissions at the 1989 Dubin inquiry that he had introduced Johnson to steroids.
As an athlete, Francis was Canadian 100 metres sprint champion in 1970, 1971, and 1973. He reached the second round of the Munich Olympics in 1972 with times of 10.51 and 10.68. His personal best was 10.1 at the Pan Am trials in Vancouver in 1971.
Francis was coach at the Scarborough Optimists track and field club when Johnson joined the club at age 15. He later admitted having Johnson use steroids to improve his performances beginning in 1981. Francis coached Johnson until the latter's infamous 1988 Seoul Olympics's disqualification. He is also a vocal critic of the IOC testing procedure and has claimed that performance enhancing drug use is rampant within the sport.
Francis also coached famous sprinters Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones for a time in 2003. Francis, Jones, and Montgomery initially attempted to cover up their association but it soon became clear that the athletes were working with him. Francis had claimed for years that elite athletes could not compete at the highest levels without steroids but when the media became aware of Francis' association with Jones and Montgomery he stated that he had never worked with such talented athletes and that they did not need steroids to succeed at the elite level. Both were later implicated and Montgomery admitted drug use to a Grand Jury. Francis is not named as being involved in this drug use.
He has authored two books on sprinting (Speed Trap and Training for Speed), and is the owner/operator of a highly popular (amongst sprinters) internet sprint training forum. Francis is married to wife Angie, and has a son, James.