BBC Sport athletics

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Michael Johnson suggests Usain Bolt switching to 400m

By Leon Mann

Bolt and Johnson
Bolt broke Johnson's 200m world record in 2008

Sprint legend Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt should consider moving up to 400m after an impressive relay display.

Bolt clocked a 43.58-second split in a 4x400 relay at a local meet in Jamaica 10 days ago.

American Johnson's world record from a standing start is 43.18 sec and his best split time in a relay - from a rolling start - was 42.94.

"He has the ability to be a world record holder. If it were me, I would move to the 400 now," said Johnson.

Bolt set world records for the 100m and 200m last year and was part of the Jamaica 4x100m relay team that set a world record and won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.

He understands that it will take a lot more work training for the 400 than for the 100 and 200

Johnson on Bolt

However, no athlete has ever held the world record in the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

Last month, running the anchor leg for the Racers Lions team, Bolt collected the baton in fourth position, 20 metres behind the leader, and managed to close the gap to just 0.44 sec at the finish line.

Johnson recently visited Bolt in Jamaica while filming for a forthcoming BBC Inside Sport documentary.

"It's not surprising to me. He understands, though, that it will take a lot more work training for the 400 than for the 100 and 200," he said.

Bolt regularly runs the 400m as part of his stamina work early each season.

He has said in the past that he will only seriously consider attempting the event after defending his world and Olympic 100 and 200 titles.


But he dropped a strong hint last September that he may change his position on the event depending on what his coach advises.

"The 400, I don't want to do. But I think I'll do it in the future because my coach can be very convincing. And he'll find some argument for me to do it," he said at the time.

Bolt leaves Johnson speechless in Berlin

"I think I would be pretty good at it, as I have tried it when I was young, just messing around."

Johnson believes the man who beat his long-standing 200m world record at the Beijing Olympics, then lowered it to a staggering 19.19 at the World Championships in Berlin, would benefit from a new challenge.

"I think ultimately he will have to choose another event because eventually there will be no motivation to continue at 100 and 200 since he has already achieved everything there," he said.

see also
Bolt starts season with 400m win
14 Feb 10 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites