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Video: Michael Johnson
  • September 9th, 2008

Another round of Olympic withdrawal syndrome week. I’m ending this soon. The Olympic feeling is wearing off for me about now. Today’s video is none other than American Micheal Johnson

Micheal Johnson Success Story

Michael Duane Johnson (born September 13, 1967 in Dallas, Texas) is a retired American sprinter who holds the current world records in the 200 meters, 400 meters, and 4 x 400 m relay{cite}. He also has run the fastest 300 meters of all time, an event not recognized by the IAAF. He won four Olympic gold medals and was crowned world champion nine times.

He is the only male sprint athlete in history to win both the 200 m and 400 m events at the same Olympics, a feat he accomplished at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Johnson is the only man to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400 m.

Johnson was noted for his unique running style. His upright stance and very short steps defied the perceived wisdom that a high knee lift was essential for maximum speed.
Johnson was born and raised in Dallas as the youngest of five children, and attended Skyline High School and Baylor University. At Baylor, Johnson was coached by Clyde Hart, and he won several NCAA titles in both indoor and outdoor sprints and relays. He prepared for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, but developed a stress fracture of his left fibula before the U.S. Olympic Trials began. He did not qualify in the 400 m and he withdrew from the 200 m.

Johnson graduated from Baylor in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business, as the first athlete ever to hold the number one world ranking in both the 200 m and the 400 m. In 1991, he won the world 200 m title in Tokyo by the largest margin of victory since Jesse Owens won the event in the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Two weeks before the 1992 Summer Olympics began, Johnson and his agent both contracted food poisoning at a restaurant in Spain. Johnson lost both weight and strength. He was the favorite to win the 200m going into the Olympics, but he could do no better than sixth in his semifinal heat, and failed to reach the 200 m final. Nevertheless, he was able to race as a member of the 4 x 400 m relay team, which won a gold medal and set a new world record time of 2:55.74.

He won the 1993 U.S. title in the 400 m, and followed it with world titles in both the 400 m and 4 x 400 m relay. His 42.94 second split time in the 4 x 400 relay remains the fastest 400 meters in history. At the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg, Johnson won his first 200 m and 400 m “double”. No elite-level track athlete had accomplished this in a major meet in the 20th century.In 1996, Johnson ran 19.66 seconds in the 200 m at the U.S. Olympic Trials, breaking Pietro Mennea’s record of 19.72, which had stood for 17 years. With that performance he qualified to run at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and prepared to attempt to win both the 200 meters and 400 meters events, a feat never before been achieved by a male athlete. (Two women have won Olympic gold medals in both races in the same year: Valerie Brisco-Hooks in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and Marie-José Perec, in the same 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.)

Johnson entered the Olympic finals donning a custom-designed pair of gold-colored Nike racing spikes made with Zytel, causing him to be nicknamed “The Man With the Golden Shoes”. Sources differ on the exact weight of these shoes; the manufacturer of the spikes claims they weighed 3 ounces (85 g) each, while other sources state each shoe weighed about 94 grams (3.3 oz). The left shoe was a US size 10.5 while the right shoe was a US size 11, to account for Johnson’s shorter left foot.

On July 29, Johnson easily captured the 400 m Olympic title with a time of 43.49 seconds, almost one full second ahead of silver medalist Roger Black of Great Britain. At the 200 m final on August 1, Johnson ran the opening 100 meters in 10.12 seconds and achieved a peak speed of over 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph). He finished the race in a world record time of 19.32 seconds, shattering the previous record he had set in the U.S. Olympic Trials – the largest improvement ever on a 200 m world record. Some commentators compared the performance to Bob Beamon’s record-shattering long jump at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The fastest 200 meters run since then is 19.62 seconds, by Tyson Gay on June 24, 2007, 0.30 seconds slower than Johnson’s record.

After the 1996 season ended, Johnson received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top track and field athlete in the United States, and was named ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year. In August, HarperCollins published his biographical/motivational book, Slaying the Dragon: How to Turn Your Small Steps to Great Feats.

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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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