In 1998, Johnson appeared in a charity race in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he raced against a thoroughbred race horse, a harness racing horse and a stock car. Johnson finished third in the race.
According to a 1998 article in Outside magazine, Johnson spent much of the latter part of the 1990s living downstairs in the house he shared with his mother Gloria. He spent his leisure time reading, watching movies and Roadrunner cartoons, and taking his mother to church. He lived in a spacious home in Newmarket, Ontario’s Stonehaven neighborhood. He claims to have lost his Ferrari when he used it as collateral for a loan from an acquaintance in order to make a house payment. Gloria died of cancer in 2004 and Johnson lived with his sister afterwards.
Shortly after his leaving Libya, it was reported that Johnson had been robbed of $7,300 by a Romany gang in Rome. His wallet was taken, containing $7,300 in cash, the proceeds of his pay for training Gaddafi. Johnson gave chase, but was unable to catch them after they vanished into a subway station.
In May 2005, Johnson launched a clothing and sports supplement line, the Ben Johnson Collection. The motto for Johnson’s clothing line was “Catch Me”; however, the clothing line never caught on.
In a January 1, 2006 interview, Johnson claimed that he was sabotaged by a “Mystery Man” inside the doping-control room immediately following the 100m final in Seoul. He also stated that 40% of people in the sports world are still taking drugs to improve their performance.
In March 2006, television spots featuring Johnson advertising an energy drink, “Cheetah Power Surge”, started to receive some airtime. Some pundits questioned whether Johnson was an appropriate spokesperson for an all natural energy drink considering his history of steroid use. 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, in which he asks Johnson: “Ben, when you run, do you Cheetah?” “Absolutely,” says Johnson. “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.”
In August 2008, Johnson filed a $37 million lawsuit against the estate of his former lawyer Ed Futerman, claiming Futerman made unauthorized payments from his trust account to pay bills and 20 percent commissions to a hairdresser recruited by the lawyer to act as the sprinter’s sports agent. In 2012, the lawsuit was dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court by summary judgment on the basis that “there were no genuine issues raised requiring a trial”.
At present, Johnson lives in Markham, Ontario and spends much of his time with his daughter and granddaughter. He also continues to coach. In 2010, he released his autobiography entitled Seoul to Soul. In the self-published book, Johnson reviews his childhood in Jamaica, and his early bout with malaria. A Canadian Press article described the book as “an unconventional sports autobiography.”
The CBC radio documentary, Rewind, “Ben Johnson: A Hero Disgraced” broadcast on Sept. 19, 2013, for the 25th Anniversary of the race, stated 20 athletes tested positive for drugs but were cleared by the IOC at this 1988 Seoul Olympics, and an IOC official stated that endocrine profiles done at those games indicated that 80 percent of the track and field athletes tested showed evidence of long-term steroid use although not all were banned. It was Johnson’s endocrine profile taken at those games that was used by the IOC to deny his appeal even when evidence presented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and others stated it was possible a substance consumed less than 45 minutes prior (the beer given to Johnson by Andrew A. Jackson who did not have permission to be in the testing room) could have metabolized and contaminated his urine sample.
In addition, CBC Radio was told by its sources that NBC had threatened to withhold its second rights payment to the IOC due on completion of the 1988 Seoul Olympics games stating, “if these games collapse in scandal, we’re out and that money’s gone.”