Ben Johnson, the momentarily olympic gold medal winner, is back once again. This time he is hitting it with a very entertaining commercial. In the spirit of ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’, Johnson is owning his reputation as a cheat and using it in a well-made endorsement commercial for sportsbet.com.au.
This isn’t the first time that Johnson has leveraged his reputation that involved the scandal which led to the retraction of his olympic gold medal in 1988. It is arguably the greatest scandal in olympic history. It even beats the scandals that involved Lance Armstrong, O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, the Black Sox, Mark McGwire and others. So why is his scandal so much a bigger deal than the rest and still remains even long after others recuperated from their scandals?……
Perhaps it is because Johnson, who at the time was a Canadian sprinter, was going head to head with American Carl Lewis. Lewis was Johnson’s greatest rival and most fierce competitor. In a historic sprint, Johnson blew Lewis away on the track and a Canadian hero was born and adorned. Well, for all of 48 hours, until the steroid test results came in and the olympic committee stripped him of his medal. The steroid that was found in his urine was stanozolol. Canada was heart-broken and disappointed. To this day, Canadians will talk about Johnson and the stain he left on Canadian history.
So then, what is a fallen hero known around the world to do after all that? He leverages his name and reputation (good or bad) for being a cheater. Yes, that’s what he’s doing and maybe even making a living out of it.