Michael Johnson
  • Faith: Christian
  • Career: Athlete
  • Birthday:  September 13, 1967

Michael Johnson is a retired sprinter who has won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals in the span of his career. He held the Olympic and world records in the 200 m and 400 m, as well as the world record in the indoor 400 m. He once held the world’s best time in the 300 m. Johnson is generally considered one of the greatest and most consistent sprinters in the history of track and field. He’s the only male athlete to win the 200-meter and 400-meter events at the same Olympics, a feat he accomplished at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

He’s also the only man to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400 meters, having done so at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Aside from his Olympic success, Johnson accumulated eight gold medals at the World Championships and is tied with Carl Lewis for the fourth most gold medals won by a runner. His distinctive stiff, upright running position and concise steps defied the conventional wisdom that a high knee lift was necessary for maximum speed. As of 2012, Johnson held 13 of the top 100 times for the 200 meters, having broken 20 seconds 23 times, and 27 of the top 100 times for the 400 meters. Of those, he holds 14 of the top 25 times for the 400 meters. He broke 44 seconds for the 400 meters 22 times, more than twice as many times as any other athlete.

Johnson held the US national records for the 200, 300, and 400 meters. He anchored the 4 x 400 meters relay world record. Since 2001, he’s worked for the BBC, appearing as a pundit at multiple events. He’s been a part of the BBC’s Olympics athletic coverage since Athens 2004. In 1991, at the World Championships in Tokyo, Johnson earned his first world title by winning the 200-meter race by the unusual margin of victor of 0.33 seconds over Frankie Fredericks. Two weeks before the 1992 Summer Olympics started, Johnson and his agent both contracted food poisoning at a restaurant in Spain.

He lost both strength and weight. He was the favorite to win the 200-meter going into the Olympics, but he couldn’t do better than sixth in his semifinal heat and failed to reach the 200-meter final by 0.16 seconds. Nevertheless, he was able to race as a member of the 4 x 400 relay team, which won a gold medal and set a new world record time of 2:55.74. Johnson ran his leg in a time of 44.73.

What religion is Michael Johnson?

Johnson identifies as a Christian. One interview with Johnson from The Guardian reads, “Johnson is a religious man, and back in 1996, after his 200 and 400-meter triumphs at the Atlanta Olympics, he said: ‘There is never a day when I forget to thank our Lord for touching me with greatness. Such supreme ability is a wonderful thing, yet I would never be so foolish as to take it for granted.’

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