Johnson 200m career ends because of Greene's 'trash talking'

Michael Johnson says he's finished with the 200 meters. The Olympic gold medallist and world record-holder at the distance won't run that race again because of the "silly" trash-talking by Maurice Greene leading up to the 200 final at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Michael Johnson says he's finished with the 200 meters. The Olympic gold medallist and world record-holder at the distance won't run that race again because of the "silly" trash-talking by Maurice Greene leading up to the 200 final at the U.S. Olympic trials.

"It's a huge relief because I was sick of it (the 200)," Johnson wrote today on NBC Olympics.com. "It was something that was a benefit for everyone but me. I didn't want this, but it was something that I felt, in my position, I have to give people the chance to try to beat me."

Johnson's coach, Clyde Hart, confirmed that Johnson is giving up the 200. Hart said the 200s that Johnson had scheduled in Europe in August and September would have to be 400s - "or we won't run them."

"It was built up too much and just built up in the wrong way," Johnson said of his showdown with Greene. "Everyone was falling all over themselves to try to continue to build it up, and it was just something that I had no interest in being a part of, because it became so negative and not about track anymore.

"It became about who can talk the most trash and who can down the other person best. That's just silly, so I didn't want to have anything to do with it." Johnson said that even if he had won the 200 at the trials on Sunday, he probably wouldn't have defended his Olympic title at Sydney in September.

He didn't finish the race, pulling up with a severe cramp in his left hamstring before reaching the curve. Greene didn't finish either, pulling up with about 80 meters left with a strained left hamstring.

"It (the hype) got out of control because Maurice fed it," Johnson said. "He fed the out-of-control monster that it became because nobody got great soundbites from me. They got me defending myself and twisted and turned it to be trash talk and all that.

"But this was started by Maurice saying last year that I was ducking him and dodging him. Then, it even furthered itself by Maurice saying, 'I'll run against him any time and anywhere,' and then Maurice saying, 'He's not that great, he's not that good. His 200 meters was not that great. I would have broken the 200-meter record on the same track,' then saying, 'The track he ran the 19.32 on was illegal ...'

"And it just went on from there and kept on and kept on." Johnson said he had nothing to gain from competing in the 200 or against Greene

"I knew from the very beginning that Maurice Greene was not going to be the guy that I would have to beat at the Olympic trials," Johnson said.

Johnson said he is looking forward to the Olympics because, "I think Sydney will be a lot more fun now. Not because there's nobody in the 400 that can run with me. It'll be a lot more fun because I don't have to be in the centre of some kind of matchup or showdown that turns silly."

Johnson said he would not know the extent of his injury until Tuesday or Wednesday. "It's really sore, so it's hard to say whether it's a strain or some damage done to the muscle," he said. The extent of Greene's injury has not yet been determined, either.

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