Change is a constant. Records come and records go—no one understands this better than Michael Johnson. At the time he set the 200-meter World Record of 19.32, conventional wisdom said it could stand for at least generations of runners. Until last year, no runner has come within a smell of 19.32 seconds.
That was until Usain Bolt blasted on the brink to the 200-meter record. Michael Johnson provides invaluable insight looking into the metamorphosis of Usain Bolt.
"I'm ready to kiss it [200m record] goodbye...if he keeps on doing what he's doing," said Johnson at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Sprint legend Michael Johnson is, of course, talking about Usain Bolt and the work he had done to run 9.77 in June to set the new World Record at the 100-meters. What is ironic is that Bolt has traditionally been seen as a 200-meter runner. This year, Bolt broke the 100-meter world record, and that feat now sets him up to break the 200-meter world record.
“He ran 19.75 [a year ago], which was amazing enough, given that he's not the most technically sound 200-meter runner,'' Johnson said of Bolt. "Whatever technical flaws you have at 200 are going to be highlighted at 100. But, you take a look at his 100 when he broke the world record...he has fixed a lot of things [technically] in the off-season.”
The drama continues to mount as last Friday in Rome, Bolt ran just his third 200 of the year and delivered 19.67, the fifth fastest time in track history. Bolt is finding his way closer and closer to 19.32 each time he steps on the track.
Usain Bolt broke his own Jamaican national record in the 200 meters last night, clocking a spectacular 19.67 seconds at the Tsliklitiria Super Grand Prix at Olympic Stadium in Rome.
"If he is as technically sound at 200, or the improvement at 200 in technique matches what we have seen at 100, there's no telling what he is going to run," Johnson added.
It has been the 400-meter record of 43.18 that Johnson set in 1999 that was predicted to be the first record of his to fall. Johnson is now an agent, and his star client, Jeremy Wariner, is nearing that milestone with a personal record of 43.45. Records tend to come when athletes are running easily so, the 400 record may fall but it probably will not be broken at the Olympics.
MJ, who remains one of the biggest forces in the sport, is ready for the times to move down the performance list. Spoken like a true champion, Johnson went on to say, “I don’t wake up every morning thinking, ‘I’m still the world record holder, and it’s another good day because of it.’”
Johnson understands that his time on the track is behind him and today he readily embraces his new role helping today’s runners realize their goals and dreams.
The looming question is whether the 200 or 400 record will fall first?
By Jay Hicks.