US track and field athlete. At Atlanta in 1996 Johnson became the first man in Olympic history to win gold medals at both 200 and 400 metres. In the 200-metre final he set a new world record of 19.32 seconds and finished 0.36 seconds ahead of the second placed athlete, a margin of victory only bettered by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics. In 1995 Johnson completed an unprecedented 200-metre and 400-metre double at the World Championships. In the course of winning his fourth consecutive 400-metre title at the World Championships in Seville, Spain, in August 1999, he broke the world record with a run of 43.18 seconds.
Olympic Games gold 200 metres 1996; gold 400 metres 1996, 2000; gold 4 × 400-metre relay 1992, 2000
World Championships gold 200 metres 1991, 1995; gold 400 metres 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999; gold 4 × 400-metre relay 1993, 1995, 1999
IAAF Male Athlete of the Year 1996, 1999
Johnson's ability to excel at both distances first attracted international attention when he set the year's fastest times in 1990. He won the 200-metre gold medal at the 1991 World Championships, adding the 400-metre title two years later. Illness ruined his chances in the 1992 Olympics 400 metres, although he did win a gold in the 4 × 400-metre relay. In the 1993 World Championships 4 × 400-metre relay he ran his leg for the winning US team in a world record time of 42.93 seconds. He successfully defended his 400-metre title at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but injury in the US trials prevented him from attempting the same at the shorter distance.
Having won gold medals in both the 200 m and the 400 m at the 1995 World Championships, he repeated this double at the 1996...