“Bolt Had Scoliosis”: US Track Legend Silences Fan After Controversial Statement on Usain Bolt

Published 03/05/2023, 1:26 PM EST

via Imago

Former Olympian, Michael Duane Johnson has had an illustrious career on track with several world records in his name in the 200m, 400m, and the indoor 400m. However, his career bests were soon challenged by the star Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt. He broke the former’s 200m record in 2009, which allowed fans to assume that the former legend of the sport had a feud with the latter that was primarily fueled by jealousy.  

However, that’s not the case. Johnson has a high regard for Bolt’s athletic capabilities and often takes his instance to motivate the sports community. But a recent tweet by a fan speculated that Johnson’s affinity for the Jamaican athlete is somewhat manic. Here’s what went down. 

Michael Johnson calls out unsolicited scrutiny


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In a recent Twitter thread, a user replied to a tweet by the 55-year-old athlete who was reflecting on sports injuries. He took his as well as Usain Bolt’s example to substantiate his stance. The post by Johnson read, “Injuries are a part of the sport but part of being great is training to be healthy, not just fast. Bolt had scoliosis. I had season ending injuries first 3 years in college. You have to figure it out.”

Reportedly, the initial tweet rolled out this debate which implied that being a high-performing athlete, one has to fixate on and prioritize their health. The rest will follow. However, this Twitter user had the most unusual inference, and re-tweeted, saying, “can you explain your unhealthy obsession with Usain Bolt.”  


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This, in turn, triggered a prompt yet cheeky response from the veteran Olympian. Highlighting the fan’s dire need to instigate a forced controversy between the two athletes, he added, “I’d call it respect. Interesting how people want so badly for me to hate on the athletes who broke my records.”

Let’s take a detour back to 2017. For someone who has had as illustrious a career as the 8x Olympic gold medalist, the sprinter was ready to put out his athletics career to pasture and make a living as a businessman. Far from garnering negative reservations, Johnson once gave the 8x Olympic gold medallist a fresh lens to look at retirement as the beginning of a new chapter.


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Johnson extensively reasoned his exit from the field. “The only reason I didn’t listen is that I was really fortunate in that I got to do everything that I wanted to do. I retired because I ran out of goals. I didn’t have any more goals,” he said. 


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Fast forward to today, athletes like Johnson whose knowledge of the sport allows the space to start healthy discussions around injuries, certain user responses are certain to dampen the spirits with which those conversations were intended. However, there is minimal validity to the conjectures, and often predisposes athletes to needless despair. 



Tiyasa Biswas

311 articles

Tiyasa is a US Sports author for Essentially Sports. She charts her journey in the sporting world right from her childhood. A basketball player all through her high school and college days, Tiyasa looks up to Michael Jordan as her idol, and reveres the Mamba Mindset.

Edited By: Jahnabi Choudhury