Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson believes he can win a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics without taking drugs and said he thinks about running against rival Carl Lewis every day.

"I feel deep down in my heart I know I can still beat them without drugs. The others say Ben Johnson can never come back. I don't believe that," he told a news conference yesterday in Toronto.

"I ran some very, very fast times in the past six or seven months but I don't want to make them public. I haven't lost anything at all," proclaimed Johnson, who was stripped of his 100-meter Olympic gold medal and world record when he tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid at the 1988 Seoul Games.

An earlier world record set in Rome was later erased by the International Amateur Athletic Federation after Johnson told a Canadian government inquiry he had taken steroids prior to the 1987 World Championships.

Johnson told reporters that steroids had not made him the world's fastest man.

"When I ran {the 100 meters in} 9.79 and 9.83 they didn't help much. They helped to train but not to run."

Johnson's two-year ban from international competition is due to expire Sept. 24, but the sprinter's laywer said no races have yet been planned.

Asked if he thought about running against Lewis, Johnson said: "Every day."

Noticeably smaller than when he took a steady diet of body-building drugs, he said he hopes to be able to run again for Canada.

"If Ben is prepared right now to come back clean, and he's determined to run as one of our athletes, then he's welcome once the sanctions are lifted," said Carol Anne Letheren, head of the Canadian Olympic Association.