Johnson has not taken too kindly to the level of “disrespect” track and field athletes are given by fans, which has prompted him to blame the sport’s management as the reason for it.
American sprint legend Michael Johnson has torn into parties in charge of track and field sports after several fans categorically dismissed Olympic and World Championship athletes as “amateurs”.
Johnson has bemoaned the treatment athletes who participate in track and field games are subjected to, believing that, unlike in other sports such as basketball, athletics participants are “disrespected”.
Pole vault Olympic and world champion Katie Moon had taken to X (formerly Twitter) to question why the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission had never nominated a female athlete for the Athlete of the Year award after American Football star Myles Garrick won the award in 2023.
15:38 - 15.01.2024
American sprint legend Michael Johnson has criticised a new Olympics commercial featuring world champion Noah Lyles over what he terms its ‘disrespectful’ nature
“Nothing against Myles he is absolutely phenomenal, but just curious….what does a female athlete have to do to be nominated for athlete of the year @CLESports …?” Moon asked.
Johnson, who won four Olympic Gold medals and eight World Championship titles, was particularly triggered by what fans commented on Moon’s tweet, noting that they appeared to casually dismiss track and field athletes as amateurs, leading him to point fingers at those in charge of the sport.
“The number of people in the replies who think a track & field Olympic and World Champion is an amateur athlete is a major indictment of those in charge of the sport,” Johnson wrote.
15:32 - 16.01.2024
For an exceptional 2023 season, Noah Lyles is the highest-ranked male sprinter of the 2023 season.
One fan had written; “ Myles won Professional Athlete of the Year. So you as an amateur should be eligible for a different award.”
To which Katie replied: “Olympic athletes have been professional since 1986.”
Another fan appeared not to realise Olympic athletes actually turned professional decades ago as the account tweeted: “My guess would be to do something of importance on the professional playing level.
“Since Olympics athletes are not perceived as professionals unless they play a professional sport, you would most likely not be eligible.”
Johnson had previously quote-tweeted a post by Raes Take TV, who was reacting to a commercial Noah Lyles shot in efforts to promote the Paris 2024 Olympics while wearing super-hero costumes and claiming it was “disrespectful”
This prompted Johnson into saying: “Cries of disrespect are constant in track & field. And it holds the sport back.”
Johnson is known to be vocal and passionate about the development of track and field games, in particular the sprint races.