US sprint legend Michael Johnson ‘accused of racism’ after questioning Nigerian world record holder

Kirby Lee

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson says he was “accused of racism” after publicly questioning the accuracy of times recorded at the world athletics championships in Oregon.

Nigerian athlete Tobi Amosen was stunned when she clocked her winning time of 12.12 seconds in the 100m hurdles semi-final on Sunday. Her run at Hayward Field eclipsed the current world record — set by American Kendra Harrison in 2016 — by 0.08 seconds. World Athletics awarded him $100,000 for breaking the record.

But in his analysis for the BBC, sprint legend Johnson questioned the accuracy of the event times. He highlighted the fact that 12 of the 24 athletes who participated in the three semi-final events achieved personal bests. The level of competition recorded was so high that a time of 12.52 meant competitors would not reach the final, even though it was a time that had won the world title at the previous six world championships.

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Amusan won the final with an even faster time of 12.06, but it did not count as an official world record due to a +2.5m/s tailwind during the event. What made Amosen’s runs even more surprising was his unusual choice of footwear: He was spotted wearing the Adidas Avanti Tio Tin Men Elite shoes, which were designed for distance rather than running. The spike cleats have a soft sole with carbon rods and a high-tech layer of foam, leading some to wonder if the super-shoes — which Amosen said caused tendonitis in the arch of his foot had worn after being victimized — had given him an unfair advantage. .

“I don’t believe 100 hours is accurate,” Johnson tweeted after the event. “World record broken by .08! 12 PB sets. 5 national records set. And Cindy Sember said after her PB/NR ‘I was running nicely slow!’ All the athletes looked shocked,” he added.

Some social media users criticized Johnson, labeling the American player “bitter”. One tweeted: “Just because it’s not an American WR doesn’t mean the timing was wrong.” Another outraged: “Michael Johnson are you naturally that dumb or do you have to try? Why don’t you black racists put your energy into recovering from your stroke! Toby Imusen is a world record holder and he There is nothing you can do about

Johnson later addressed the backlash, tweeting: “For questioning the times of 28 athletes (not one athlete) wondering if the timing system was flawed, I was attacked, accused of racism, And to question the abilities of a player I respected and looked up to. Win unacceptable I move on.”

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