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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Crowd carried Raquil to bronze
BBC Sport's Michael Johnson
By Michael Johnson
Athletics legend and BBC Sport analyst

New world 400m champion Jerome Young is one of the most talented guys out there at this point.

He ran a very good, evenly paced race and put himself in the perfect position.

I believe that silver medallist Tyree Washington actually went out a little too hard. He got out very, very fast.

Jerome Young celebrates victory in the 400m

He kept his foot on the gas. He didn't ease up on the back stretch a little bit.

Marc Raquil was all over the place but pure unadulterated strength got him through - and the crowd. They were so loud and willed him to a third-place finish.

People ask me if I was under the same pressures running in front of an American crowd in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as he was in Paris on Tuesday night.

But our situations were very different. For one thing, by that point I was established.

The pressure that I was under was to make good on what I said I was going to do. I had drawn a lot of attention to myself by saying I was going to complete the 200m and 400m double.

Raquil should not have felt any pressure because no-one in the crowd should have expected him to get a medal.

It was not a realistic expectation. He ran a personal best of 44.8secs earlier this year, and that was the French national record until he broke it in the final.

Four guys in the semi-final ran faster than his record.

For me, Raquil was in one of the best positions of all in the final. He was at home, the crowd support for him was incredible and he had nothing to lose.

France had two guys in the final, and that has never been done before. They should have been happy with that - so a bronze for Raquil was simply great.



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