American sprinter Michael Johnson won four gold medals in three editions of the Olympic Games, but he is best-known for his historic double gold in Atlanta in 1996.
Johnson first competed at the ’92 Barcelona Games, but failed to medal in his first event, the men’s 200m, after he contracted food poisoning and was weakened considerably when he ran his heat, resulting in his elimination from the final race. He was, however, able to bring home a gold medal as a member of the USA’s 4x400 relay team.
When the Atlanta Olympics rolled along, Johnson set an ambitious goal: to become the first male athlete to win the golds in the 200m and 400m. He topped the 400m final in an Olympic record of 43.49 seconds, a mark that still stands to this day. Three days later, Johnson achieved his double gold, winning the 200m in a blistering time of 19.32 seconds, a record that stood for 12 years.
Johnson had high hopes of defending both his titles in Sydney in 2000, and he got halfway there after successfully defending his 400m title. But he injured himself in the 200m final and failed to win another gold. Johnson actually won a fifth Olympic gold with the US 4x400 relay team, but this result was later nullified after some members of the team were found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs.
Nevertheless, Johnson’s four Olympic golds were more than enough to earn him a place in the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame.
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