YOKOHAMA, Japan -- For Michael Johnson it was
business as usual in the final competitive race of an
unparalleled career on Saturday.
The five times Olympic sprint champion told reporters he had
had felt no emotion as he stepped on to the track for the last
time to run the final leg of a mixed distance relay.
"People don't understand my feelings are different from
theirs. I'm still out there competing and still had a job to
do," he said. "I knew I had to bring us the victory."
The world 200 and 400 metres record holder strode past
Japanese Jun Osakada in the back straight on the last leg of a
100-200-300-400 metres relay to win the event for his team.
Johnson, 34, then made it clear he would not be making any
"I'm finished. I announced after Sydney it was my last
Olympics or world championships and said this year that I would
retire," he said. "I haven't given anyone any reason to doubt
Johnson said the secret of his success during a career in
which he won a record nine world titles was "a combination of
God-given talent and hard work."
When pushed to name one athlete who had pushed him to the
limit over the years, Johnson paid tribute to Namibia's Frankie
Fredericks, who ran the first leg for Johnson's "Dream Team" on
"We have been competing against each other since collegiate
level and he's always been there. He's had amazing consistency
in his career," he said.
Fredericks won the world 200 metres title at the 1993
Stuttgart world championships, where Johnson concentrated on the
400, and finished second behind Johnson in the 1996 Olympic
final in Atlanta.
Asked if he would consider a career in coaching in the
future, Johnson gave an unequivocal "No."
"There is no possibility of that. It takes a special talent
to coach athletes and I don't think I have that talent," said
Johnson, who added he would content himself with conducting
track and field "youth clinics."