1996 Michael Johnson, the current world and American record holder in the 200 and 400 meters, became the first athlete in history to win both events at the same Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Johnson also holds the Olympic records in the 100 meters (10.05 seconds) and the 4x100-meter relay ( 39.58 seconds).
He won gold medals in both events at the 2004 and 2008 Games, respectively, and silver in 2012. The only other man to do so is American Lester Medford who captured gold in both events at the 1900 Paris Games. The only other woman to do so are American Ann Burke who won gold in the 800 meters at the 1936 Berlin Games and American Margaret Buehler who brought home a bronze in the 400 meters at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Johnson's winning times of 19.94 seconds in the 200 meters and 44.11 seconds in the 400 meters are still records today. He has dominated the sport for many years by being one of only three men to have ever achieved the "double double" (winning both events at the same Olympics). The others are American Carl Lewis and Jamaican Andre Phillips.
Although Johnson no longer competes in either event, he remains one of the most successful athletes in Olympic history with four gold medals and two silver medals.
Michael Duane Johnson is a former sprinter from the United States. He won four gold medals at the Olympics and eight gold medals at the World Championships. He previously held the world and Olympic marks in the 200m and 400m, as well as the indoor 400m world record. He also once set the world record for the 300m.
His best time in the 400m is 49.56 seconds, which he ran at the 1996 Atlanta Games. This time remains the American record. He also holds the U.S. records in the 100m (10.98s) and 200m (20.30s).
After retiring from competition, Johnson became a successful coach and executive director of athletics at his alma mater, Texas A&M University.
He has been ranked number one in the 400m by Track & Field News since 1995 and number one on the International Federation of Athletics' list of all-time greats.
In 2012, Johnson was elected into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
He still runs occasionally with students at various schools around the country.
Johnson's wife is named Debbie. They have two children together: a daughter named Chantel and a son named Michael Jr.
Michael Johnson held the world records in the 200 meters, 400 meters, and indoor 400 meters for over a decade, as well as the best time in the 300 meters and the 4 by 400 meter relay. He still holds the world record for the 4 × 400 meter relay.
In his first race as a professional athlete, Johnson ran 22.39 seconds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics to break the old world record by nearly half a second. The record would last only three years, but it was enough time for Johnson to become one of the most successful runners of all time. His legacy as one of the greatest athletes in U.S. history is secure.
As a young man, Johnson ran for Texas A&M University, where he won four individual NCAA titles. He also helped the Aggies win two more team championships. After graduating from A&M with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1989, Johnson turned pro.
Over the next ten years, he dominated international track and field like no other runner before or since. During that time, he set nine world records (seven individual and two with the American 4 x 400 meter relay team) and won seven gold medals at the World Championships in Athletics.
His career ended prematurely due to chronic knee problems.
Responding swiftly aided in his recuperation. Michael Johnson, formerly the fastest man to run 200 meters, was there, the man who was so sure he'd break the world mark that he went onto the Centennial Olympic Stadium track wearing spikes painted gold. An ambulance took Johnson away after he collapsed while warming up for a race.
He had severe heatstroke. When his body temperature reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius), it was too late; despite all efforts, he didn't survive.
Johnson was only 38 years old. He left behind a wife and two children.
As soon as he returned home, his manager called him into his office and told him not to come back to work ever again. The manager said that if Johnson wanted to continue his career, he should look into investing in some form of insurance because he was no longer worthy of being sponsored by any company. "This is probably the end of my career," Johnson thought as he walked out of the office feeling depressed. He had nothing else to live for. Soon afterward, he committed suicide.
Even though he died before he could reap the rewards of breaking the world record, his name remains engraved in history books around the world as one of the greatest sprinters of all time.
Johnson won his first global gold in 1991, at the World Championships in Tokyo, after winning the 200 m event by an extraordinary margin of 0.33 seconds over Frankie Fredericks. Johnson and his agent both had food sickness in a restaurant in Spain two weeks before the start of the 1992 Summer Olympics. They were given lemons as a remedy but this didn't help them any closer to feeling better so they decided not to risk it and missed their flight.
The Olympic champion failed to qualify for the final of the 100 m event but still managed to win the silver medal behind Carl Lewis. At the end of that year's World Championships in Indianapolis, Johnson became only the second man after Carl Williams to win back-to-back titles when he took out 100 m and 200 m events.
He added a third consecutive title in 1993, this time at the European Championships in Helsinki. During the championships, Johnson was involved in a controversial incident during his semi-final race of the 100 m event. After running a legal lead throughout the race, Johnson was passed by Russia's Vladimir Kolesnik right at the finish line. This led to protests from several nations, including Nigeria and United States, but most notably from Carl Lewis who accused Kolesnik of doping. The matter was put to bed when the two men met on stage following Johnson's victory and agreed to shake hands to show there was no bad blood between them.
He won the Olympic championship on July 29, 1996, with an Olympic Record time of 43.49 seconds, and he also set a world record in the 200m event the same year, finishing in 19.32 seconds. He starred in a Nike television commercial in 1997, when he was dubbed "the world's fastest man." The ad began airing during NBA basketball games, and it became one of the most-viewed commercials in history.
Johnson became the first man to run under 44 seconds in the 200m race when he finished second at the Atlanta Olympics, and his time of 43.49 seconds remains the current Olympic record. The 20-year-old from Baltimore ran a similar time in the qualifying round and made the final by default because no one else could meet the deadline to make the field size limited to eight runners per country. Johnson's time was almost 4 seconds faster than the previous record held by American Leroy Burrell since 1989.
Burrell had been expected to break the 44-second barrier during the Atlanta Games, but he suffered a hamstring injury two weeks before the start of the competition that forced him to withdraw from the event. Fellow American Calvin Harrison had already qualified for the final by finishing third in the preliminary round with a time of 21.02 seconds, so only Johnson could challenge Burrell's record.
During his career, Johnson has received many awards, including being named Sportsman of the Year by The Nation magazine in 1997.