Michael Johnson. An Olympic and World Record holder of the 200m and 400m, I still remember trying to emulate his style when I was younger, as most quarter-milers did, I’d imagine. I can still remember his amazing foot speed and powerful stride, generated by his compact, but muscular, frame. I remember this with the commentary from his 1996 world record-breaking 200m, at the Atlanta Olympic games (Where I also developed a crush on Dominique Dawes. But that’s another story!), “Surely this man isn’t human!”
It’s true that Michael Johnson has now passed on his 200m World and Olympic Record to none other than Usain Bolt but there is one thing, for me, that gives Michael Johnson the edge, over Usain Bolt, as the better sprinter (Taking nothing from Bolt whatsoever!). It’s the fact that he was surrounded by athletes that could beat him (Over the 200m), even on a good day.
In that balmy Atlanta evening air, any mistake could have seen a deserved win become defeat. Especially considering 2nd place ALSO broke the previous world record.
When I read Michael Johnson’s book, Slaying the Dragon, I was sold. It resonated with me on and off the track and showed me an extremely important lesson in the process. “Don’t worry about that which isn’t in your control”. The book also dealt heavily with planning for victory, not just planning in general and also dealt with getting over failure. Reading over Michael’s life story, as he broke these points down, engraved him into my brain. To the point, I still recommend his book to my training clients, and others, today!