American sprint legend Michael Johnson shares tip on winning 400m races

American sprint legend Michael Johnson shares tip on winning 400m races

Abigael Wafula 12:52 - 14.05.2024

American sprint legend Michael Johnson has disclosed the costly mistake he made in a 400m race at the 1993 US Championships and given a tip on how he managed to win more 400m races from then on.

Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson has given an important strategy that 400m runners can emulate in order to win races.

Johnson went down memory lane to remember the 1993 Eugene USATF Championships and disclosed the costly mistake that he made when he was relatively new to the half-lap race.

However, the American went on to win the race in a course record time of 43.74 ahead of Butch Reynolds and Quincy Watts who finished second and third respectively.

Johnson commented on a video shared by an X (Twitter) user Costas Goulas, Johnson recounted that he was afraid of kicking in the first 200m, a strategy that cost him a lot but from then on, he would always kick in the first 200m.

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“1993 US Champs. Still relatively new to the 400, I was afraid to attack the first 200m. This was a terrible race strategy. But with 19.7 200 speed, I could get away with it. After this race I started attacking the first 200,” Johnson said in his comment.

Goulas shared the video of Johnson competing during the event and he was clearly in a class of his own as he went to cross the finish line ahead of his track rivals and fans would have thought there was no mistake he had made.

“Let's watch @MJGold as he weathers a flying first 200m by Harry Butch Reynolds and Quincy Watts outside him to turn an astonishing third hundred into a big lead that he retains all along for a commanding win in 43.74 (PB, WL) over 400m at the US Championships in mid-June 1993,” Goulas captioned the video.

Johnson further stated that people doubted if he was a credible 400m runner but he disappointed them by beating the strong field that had been assembled.

“The story that made this race special. 400 Oly champ Watts vs World champ Pettigrew vs WR holder Reynolds vs 200 World champ Me. I’d spent 2 of the last 3 years ranked #1 at 200 and 400 and had beaten each of them except Watts.

“Some said I couldn’t win a 400 championship because I wasn’t a true 400 sprinter which would be revealed in this race which would be the first time I would run 400m rounds before a final.

“My training hadn’t changed much from college when I trained to run the 200, 4x1, and 4x4 relay all in the same day. The rounds weren’t a problem,” he added.