November 28, 2023

Johnson doubts Bolt’s chances of four golds in London

LONDON (AP) — Former Olympic 400-metre champion Michael Johnson doubts Usain Bolt will be able to win four gold medals at the London Games.

Bolt, who won the Athlete of the Year award on Saturday, said he would like to add the 1,600-metre relay to his repertoire for next year’s Olympics. Bolt won the 100, 200 and 400 relay golds at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“You can’t train for the 400 as well. It would be an absolute distraction and the training wouldn’t work,” Johnson told BBC radio on Tuesday. “I think he could be the world-record holder at 400 metres but he’s said that he has no interest in training for it, which I can understand — it’s a difficult race to train for.”

Usain Bolt

Bolt has long been rumoured to add the 400 — his share of the 1,600 relay — to his schedule, but has said he has no interest in the longer race and prefers to stay with the short sprints. He has also said he could one day compete in the long jump.

The last track star to win four gold medals at the same Olympics was Carl Lewis, the American great who won the 100, 200, 400 relay and long jump at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

At this year’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea, Bolt won the 200 and helped Jamaica win the 400 relay, but he was disqualified because of a false start in the 100 final. Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won in his absence.

“I see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to repeat as an Olympic gold medallist in the 100, 200 and the (400 relay), but the (1,600 relay) is going to be tough,” said Johnson, who won the 200 and 400 golds at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 400 in Sydney four years later.

Former 400 metre champion Michael Johnson

“Without him, the Jamaican team certainly doesn’t have enough 400 runners to beat the United States. They could beat the U.S. possibly with him on the team if he was training for the 400, but he can’t just step onto the track and run a 44 or a 43-second split just off 100 and 200 training.”

In order to have a chance of making the team, Johnson said Bolt will need to run some competitive 400s before the Olympics, which open on July 27.

“I don’t see the Jamaican coaching staff putting him on the (1,600) relay unproven,” Johnson said. “That means he’s got to go out there and run some 400s during the season, in order to prove that he should be on that relay.”

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