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Thank you, Allen.
July 12, 2010Posted by on
The indefatigable American sprint hurdler announced his retirement from the sport, 14 years after winning the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal.
Allen Johnson’s accolades in the 110 high’s are unparalleled. Allen has the most sub-13 races among all hurdlers in history. His personal best of 12.92 (which he set twice in 1996) ranks him as the 6th fastest sprint hurdler of all time. Who (in the track circles at least) can ever forget Johnson’s four, straight World Championships win (1995, 1997, 2001 and 2003)? Allen’s last major international podium finish was at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, where he ran 7.55s for the silver medal.
Despite all these, the great Johnson remained down-to-earth, always ready to lend a helping hand to the younger crop of professional athletes (or to respond to emails from fans as faraway as Southeast Asia). Johnson, unlike the stereotypical American sprinter, was never brash or prone to trash talking. Allen is every inch the true sportsman.
Even if I haven’t met Allen personally, it feels as if I’ve known him all along from all the track & field articles I’ve read and hurdles clips I’ve seen.
Only a month ago, a Universal Sports article about Johnson came out, highlighting the 39-year old’s bid to clock a sub-13.20 – a new age-group record, should he achieve the feat.
It saddens me to learn that one of the sport’s icons called it quits. But then again, Johnson has been on borrowed time. No one in recent times had remained at the top of this grueling event for so long (note: Donald Finlay of Great Britain competed in the 1948 London Olympics as a 39-year old).
Thank you, Allen. Godspeed.
“It’s just come to the point where my body can’t take it any more. Maybe I can coach some hurdlers or some sprinters…give something back. I”m going to miss it, I really am but it was fun.” – Allen Johnson