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Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 16:59 UK

Michael Johnson on Usain Bolt

Michael Johnson
By Michael Johnson
Former 200m world record holder

Usain Bolt's 200m victory in a new world record time of 19.30 seconds was simply incredible. This guy is Superman II.

Usain Bolt
We saw Bolt giving it every single ounce of energy, even a lean at the tape

Michael Johnson
When I saw the start he made to the race, I just thought 'wow'. It was a much better start than the one he made in winning the 100m - in another new world record time - on Saturday.

Guys at 6ft 5ins tall should not be able to start like that. Bolt had the slowest start in the field in the 100m but here it was better than anyone else's and there were some good starters out there.

His drive phase, his transition, his bend, his home straight - it was all simply incredible.

Bolt was immediately up on Zimbabwe's Brian Dzingai, who is a very good 200m runner, and he started absolutely burning up the turn.

You've got to get out and run that in 10.1secs or so and I can imagine he ran about 10.00 around the kerb, which is amazing.

After making up the stagger on all of the people outside him, Usain then opened a five to six metre gap on them.

The long stride means he ate up so much more track than everybody else did with each step and, for once, he ran through the finish line.

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Video - Johnson wowed by 'Superman II' Bolt

This is Bolt's favourite event and he wanted that record; he went for it, he came here focused on it. He knew that most likely he'd win gold but gave it every single thing he had.

My concern, and the reason I thought he might not get the world record here, was that he wouldn't have been working on his speed endurance, the ability to hold that speed for the entire race.

But he showed that he actually has been working on that and was able to bring it home in 19.30secs; an incredible time, an incredible performance.

This performance was much better than the 100m because we saw Bolt giving it every single ounce of energy, even a lean at the tape.

And that lean was not based on trying to beat anyone else because the other guys weren't anywhere close to him.

He was just trying to hold that speed for as long as he could and grab that record, which he's done.

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It's about the accomplishment, that's what he's going to take from this. He worked so hard to break that world record.

I don't see any reason why he couldn't now move up to the 400m but I'm not sure if he'll be able to break the world record in that.

In my opinion he'll now switch his focus back to the 100m, knowing there's a little more he can take off the 9.69sec. He can start better and go down into the low 9.60s.

But for now all I can say is congratulations, Usain Bolt.

Michael Johnson was talking on BBC Television


see also
Bolt claims 200m gold with record
20 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Bolt surges to gold in new record
16 Aug 08 |  Athletics
The impossible becomes real
20 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Find your local athletics club
13 Oct 05 |  Get Involved


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