Michael Johnson: How many gold medals has athlete and BBC pundit won?

Johnson is the only male athlete to win the 200 metres and 400 metres at a single Olympic Games

Harry Latham-Coyle
Thursday 29 July 2021 16:06
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Former American runner Michael Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Now a popular and prominent pundit for the BBC, the 53-year-old competed at three Olympic Games - Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.

He remains the holder of the national record in both the 200 metres and the 400 metres.

Both of his world records in the two distances have now fallen after South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk stunningly won gold in the 400m five years ago at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a new world record time of 43.03, while Usain Bolt took his 200m record (previously 19.32, set at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics) in Berlin in 2009, clocking a scorching 19.19.

Johnson remains the only man to win both the 200 metres and 400 metres at a single Olympics, achieving the feat in Atlanta 25 years ago.

They are two of four Olympic golds that Johnson has.

He first took gold in the 4x400m relay four years earlier as part of an American quartet that set a new world record.

Michael Johnson is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all-time

Having taken those two golds in Atlanta, Johnson defended his 400m title, but was denied a potential Olympic duel over 200m with compatriot Maurice Greene after each suffered a hamstring injury at the US Olympic Trials soon before the Games.

Johnson would stand on the podium again as the winner of the 4x400m relay in Sydney, but would later give back his medal after teammates Antonio Pettigrew and Jerome Young admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.

He remains part of the fastest 4x400m relay unit in history, setting a mark of 2.54.29 at the World Championships in Stuttgart in 1993.

Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts and Butch Reynolds were also part of an American team anchored by Johnson that finished more than five seconds clear of second-placed Kenya.

Since retiring, Johnson has established himself as an erudite pundit, written newspaper columns and made a documentary, Channel 4’s Survival of the Fastest, in the build-up to the Olympics in London in 2012.

In September 2018, he suffered a stroke but was almost “back to normal” by November of the same year.

Last summer, after the death of George Floyd, Johnson urged the world’s sports stars to take a knee and speak out against racial inequality.

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