12x Olympic And World Championship Gold Medalist Michael Johnson Passes Judgement On The “Worst Eras For Sprinting”

Published 12/29/2023, 5:30 AM EST

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The visage of track and field is embossed with several iconic figures who have left an indelible mark on the sport. However, there was a period when the sport was at its all-time low. Now, a celebrated Olympian whom the fans adoringly called “Superman” has shone a light on this rather disgraceful era of track history.

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Michael Johnson attained a demigod status in the track realm with 12 Olympic and World Championships gold medals earned during his sprinting tenure. Even years after his retirement, Johnson’s words are nothing less than the gospel to many well-known sprinters. With the Paris Olympics 2024 beckoning many aspiring gold medalists, Michael Johnson rewound the clock to expose the eerie truths of the sport’s dark period.

Michael Johnson reflects on the worst era of sprinting

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Michael Johnson takes his duties as the BBC sports commentator very seriously. Thus, when he announced that the first half of the 2000s was a tough time for sprinters, many took notice. He used the X platform to deliver his prognosis, saying, “2002-2003 had to be one of the worst eras for sprinting! Not only no sub 20. 100m was constantly 9.9 and 400m no one was below 44 between 2000 and 2005”. The post carried further validation in the form of an infographic almanac. The chart shows the number of men who went sub-20 each year from 2003 to 2023. In 2003, none could achieve this feat, which was pretty much the norm till 2005. Only three sprinters had proven their mettle on the track in 2005 and attained this impressive milestone.

Michael Johnson believes the sub-20 accomplishment in the 200m to be the pivotal moment in any athlete’s career. As the United States Track and Field Hall of Famer who became known for his mindblowing 200m hot run in the 1996 Olympics, Johnson deplored the lack of talent since his retirement. However, the current figure shows 20 runners who have gone sub-20 in 2023, which has set him up in hope.

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Michael Johnson sees a glimmer of hope

Soon after making the initial post about the deplorable past, Michael Johnson drew everyone’s attention to the current state of the sport. He shared the same picture and wrote, “Great to see men’s 200m at this level”. The headliner among them is none but Noah Lyles, who became the first American double champion after a long gap. Lyles became part of Michael Johnson’s legacy, who was the double champion himself. But that is not where the association ends.

American Track and Field Hero Michael Johnson Unveils Astonishing Journey of World Record Holder Marathon Champion

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Both Lyles and Johnson have spoken against World Athletics for dividing the Athlete of the Year award amongst athletes of different genres. Despite the controversial circumstances, Noah Lyles is determined to shatter the 200m record in the 2024 season.

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Written by:

Anchal Ahuja

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I am Anchal Ahuja, an Olympic Sports writer at EssentiallySports. My love for sports grew when I first watched Olympics when I was 7-years-old. Growing up as I started to delve deeper into the sporting realm, I decided to move on with my new passion with all new hopes to get success.
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Edited by:

BHUJAYA RAY CHOWDHURY

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