Michael Johnson hits out at ‘disrespectful’ comparisons between ‘kids’ and pro athletes

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Michael Johnson hits out at ‘disrespectful’ comparisons between ‘kids’ and pro athletes

Joel Omotto 21:26 - 30.04.2024

American sprint legend Michael Johnson is not impressed by the constant comparisons between emerging athletes and established runners whenever youngsters post impressive times.

American sprint legend Michael Johnson has expressed his displeasure at the constant comparisons made between youngsters who post great times and established pro athletes.

Johnson is not impressed to see established athletes pitted against youthful runners who break out at various events as he feels a one-off performance should not be used to judge an athlete who has been doing it for a longer time.

“A really good high school basketball player may be able to outplay an NBA player on a given day. Doesn’t mean he can outplay him throughout the NBA season. But in track if a high school kid runs a fast time once, we’re ready to put them on par with the pros,” Johnson shared.

Johnson feels pro athletes are not getting the respect they deserve when their achievements are put against emerging runners who might have posted an impressive time due to a number of factors on the day.

A number of runners have been emerging over the years and they would be christened the next ‘Usain Bolt’ but it is safe to say Johnson is not a fan.

However, some have gone on to prove it such as American sprinter Erriyon Knighton, who burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old in 2022, and went on to win a bronze medal in 200m at that year’s World Championships before he improved it to silver last year.

Jamaican 22-year-old sprinter Ackeem Blakeis another one who has been labelled the next ‘Usain Bolt’ following his recent impressive performances.

Blake was part of Team Jamaica that won bronze in the 4x100m relay at the 2023 World Championships before he claimed the same medal as individual in 60m at the 2024 World Indoor Championships in March.

While Johnson seems not impressed, the comparison looks set to continue with the emergence of fresh talent every year.

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