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Michael Johnson Shuts Down Racism Accusations After Questioning Track World Records

Jayden Collins

| Last updated 

Michael Johnson Shuts Down Racism Accusations After Questioning Track World Records

Former Olympian Michael Johnson has hit back at critics who accused him of racism after he questioned the authenticity of the times recorded at the World Athletics Championships. 

The four-time Olympic gold medalist says he was ‘attacked and accused of racism’ after he was skeptical of Nigerian runner Tobi Amusan’s world record in the women’s 100-metre hurdles semifinals. 

The BBC pundit questioned the record during a television broadcast, with the Nigerian recording a time of 12.12 seconds, beating the previous world record by 0.08 seconds, set by American Kendra Harrison in 2016.


Amusan herself looked shocked when she realised her time. 

It came on the same day that multiple athletes shattered their previous personal bests and many incredible times were recorded.

Johnson took to Twitter to question whether there was something off with the recordings.


He tweeted: “I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR ‘I thought I was running slow!’ All athletes looked shocked.

“Heat 2 we were first shown winning time of 12.53. Few seconds later it shows 12.43. Rounding down by .01 is normal. .10 is not.”

Johnson’s comments did not go down well in the running community with some labelling his opinion ‘dumb’ and going as far as accusing him of racism and discrediting Amusan’s world record run.


One Twitter user replied: “Michael Johnson Are you naturally this dumb or do you have to put in effort? Why don't you channel your energy to recovering from your stroke you Black racist! Toby Amusan is a world record holder and there's nothing you can do about that.”

Another said: “Don't go there Mike, don't do the elitist thing again, a Nigerian breaks the record and there is a problem? You bout to feel the anger of 200M Nigerians.”

While others called on him to question the previous record run of Kendra Harrison where the clock read 12.58 before being changed to 12.20. 


Johnson soon responded to the claims, tweeting: “The level of dumbassery coming across my feed right now is truly staggering!”

The pundit later defended his opinion and outlined his role on the BBC as a commentator of the sport.

He tweeted: “As a commentator, my job is to comment. In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on.”

Featured Image Credit: Mark Pain / Alamy. REUTERS / Alamy.

Topics: Athletics, Australia, Olympics

Jayden Collins

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