Getty Images
Back
Academy Member

Michael

Johnson

One of the most distinctive sprinters ever with his powerful, upright stride pattern, Michael Johnson is widely regarded as the greatest 400m runner of all time.

Four-times an Olympic champion, Michael also collected eight World Championship gold medals and set a remarkable run of 58 consecutive wins in the 400 metres between 1990 and 1997.

He was also an outstanding sprinter in the 200 metres and in that event strung together a streak of 32 wins between 1990 and 1992.

The Texan became the first man to hold both the 200m and 400m world records and is the only male athlete to successfully defend the Olympic 400m title.

In 1996 at Atlanta, he became the only athlete in more than 100 years of Olympic history to achieve the 200m and 400m double at the same Games. He set a world record with his time of 19.32 seconds in the 200 metres, finishing metres ahead of silver medallist Frankie Fredericks of Namibia.

At the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Michael shattered the 11-year-old world record of Butch Reynolds when he clocked 43.18 seconds - his fourth successive title over the distance. That record remarkably remained intact for 17 years until beaten in August 2016 by Wayde van Niekerk.
Victory drew him level on eight with Carl Lewis for the most career gold medals at the World Championships.  
At the age of 33, he rounded off his distinguished Olympic career with gold medal No 4 at the 2000 Sydney Games in the 400 metres. For many years Michael, and the entire sports world, thought he had gone away from Sydney with a fifth gold medal in the 4x400m relay, but In June 2008, Antonio Pettigrew admitted he had taken drugs while being a member of the US team. Michael returned his gold medal saying: “I didn’t want to have anything to do with a team that had someone who cheated.”
He retired from competition as world record holder over both 200 and 400 metres and with six individual and two relay gold medals during his remarkable World Championship career. He was also the co-holder of the world record in the 4x400 metre relay, after the United States team set a time of 2:54.20 at the 1998 Goodwill Games.
Now a highly successful TV and newspaper analyst on athletics, he also runs the Michael Johnson Performance Centre near Dallas which offers fitness and coaching sessions for top sports teams and individuals.
He became a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy in 2001 and has attended many Laureus Sport for Good projects. Most famously in 2006 visiting the COBAP Aids project in Uganda which had a profound effect upon him.
He said: “I found it very emotional to be there and see for myself the work that is being done to help children that have suffered as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis which has been a tragedy for the country. When you come from the West, it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the problems that countries such as Uganda have to face. The story of COBAP is a classic example of what Laureus is all about.”