Ben Johnson finally found a way to cash in on his brief time as an Olympic gold medallist.
The 55-year-old former sprinter has appeared in an advertisement for an Australian betting company, making light of the 1988 doping violation that cost him his medal and his world record.
In the ad for Sportsbet.com, Johnson is introduced as an expert on “performance enhancement” and praises the betting site’s “juiced-up” mobile app amid numerous other puns and allusions to his use of steroids while competing.
While the ad is clearly meant to poke fun at Johnson’s past, sports’ anti-doping authorities don’t appear to have been amused.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said it has complained to regulators about the ad while sports minister Greg Hunt called for it to be pulled from the airwaves.
“This advert makes light of the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport and sends the completely wrong message that the use of drugs in sport is normal,” the ASADA said in a release.
Local reports also note Australian senator Nick Xenophon has called on the Australian Communications and Media Authority to look into the matter.
However, Sportsbet appeared to be unrepentant in the face of the criticism.
“Sportsbet does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs … (but) we make no apologies for injecting some humour into advertising,” a Sportsbet spokesman told News Corp.
-With files from the Canadian Press.