Report: Ben Johnson endorsing sports drink

Updated: March 24, 2006, 6:14 PM ET
Associated Press

Ben Johnson is trading on his disgraced past, endorsing a sports drink called Cheetah in a TV commercial.

Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal and world record in the 100 meters at the 1988 Seoul Games after testing positive for steroids. After a two-year suspension, he received a lifetime ban in 1993 for a second positive drug test.

Now, the Toronto Star reports, Johnson is featured in two commercials for the Cheetah Power Surge sports drink.

One ad is a mock interview between Johnson and Frank D'Angelo, the president and chief executive of D'Angelo Brands, which makes the drink.

D'Angelo asks Johnson: "Ben, when you run, do you Cheetah?"

"Absolutely," Johnson says. "I Cheetah all the time."

The other commercial includes Johnson and a cheetah, the world's fastest land animal, and encourages viewers to "go ahead and Cheetah."

Johnson was approached by D'Angelo a few months ago about the campaign.

"I applaud Mr. D'Angelo in believing in me after all that has happened since 1988," Johnson said Friday. "It takes a man of great foresight and forgiveness to look past an individual's mistakes and see not what he has done but what he can do.

"People make mistakes in life, but like many other sport stars today, they can and do turn their lives around. I have done that," he said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press