Ben Johnson ad draws criticism from anti-doping officials

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Disraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson starred in an ad for an Australian sports-betting website that upset Australia’s anti-doping agency.

The Canadian Johnson won the 1988 Olympic 100m but was stripped of gold three days later, having tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.

In the 90-second ad published last week, Johnson “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 Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) said in a statement.

The ad lists Johnson as the 1988 Olympic 100m champion (for 48 hours*). He says the sports-betting website’s app “tested positive for speed and power, again and again.”

The ad also included actors casted as what appear to be an American cyclist, an East Asian swimmer and a European weightlifter.

“This advertising campaign belittles the achievements of clean athletes and denigrates those who work to protect clean sport across the world,” ASADA said.

ASADA said it lodged a complaint “to the relevant authority.”

The sports-betting website reportedly said it has “no plans to pull the adverts from air – we’ve received overwhelmingly positive support from the public and they see it for what it is, a tongue-in-cheek joke.”

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