Johnson gets set

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The American sprinter, Michael Johnson, starts his preparation for an attempt on a double gold in the 200 and 400 metres in the World Championships this year with a low-key 200 metres in So Paulo, at the opening grand prix event of the outdoor season.

Johnson has won the 200 and 400 metres at consecutive World Championships. He aims to become the first person to win both titles at a major championship during this year's World Championships in Gothenburg. He also believes world records are possible over both distances.

Johnson broke the world indoor 400 record this year and has now set his sights firmly on a unique double in Sweden. "It's just something that I've always wanted to do," he said. "Hopefully next year, if the schedule permits, I want to double in the Olympics. It's something I've always wanted to do as well."

American sprinting pride has been battered over the past three years with Britain's Linford Christie winning the Olympic and world 100 metres and then defeating the leading Americans at Zurich last year.

Leroy Burrell, who broke Carl Lewis's world 100 metres record last year, was among the also-rans in Zurich and at 28 is aware that time is running out. "It's important that I perform as well as I can at the World Championships because I don't think I'm going to get many more chances," he said.

Burrell plans to run both the 100 and the 200m at the US Championships in Sacramento, California, next month. Lewis may also attempt the double as well as the long jump.