Allen Johnson announced his retirement on Saturday, said goodbye to a professional track career that seems the stuff of sports fiction.
“It’s just come to the point where my body can’t take it anymore,” said Johnson in a trackside interview.
“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,” added the former World and Olympic 110 meter hurdles champion.
One of the interesting things about his career is the University of Carolina graduate never won an individual NCAA title during his time at Chapel Hill but he quickly became a star as professional.
On Saturday, one of the unique chapters in professional track and field history closed when Allen, 39, announced his retirement after winning Olympic gold in Atlanta, and turned in countless outstanding performances.
He finishes with four World Outdoor Titles, three World Indoor Titles, finished the seasoned ranked number one four times, and one of greatest performances ever with a personal best of 12.92 seconds just .02 shy of the current American Record - is among the best in track history.
Few have been so good, for so long. In 2005, Johnson earned a bronze at the World Outdoor Championships at the age of 34. Johnson has run under 13 seconds more than an hurdler in history - nine times.
Allen showed grace even in defeat. I am him picking himself after falling in the early rounds of the 2004 Athen Games preventing him from competing for a second Olympic gold medal.
Allen never was one for attention. Yet he’s getting it now.
American record holder David Oliver said on his Twitter account, “Just talked to Allen Johnson, sad to see him call it a career and retire, a real genuine dude…”
“Allen Johnson is an inspiration for competition as lifelong pursuit. He embodies all the qualities you could ask for from a champion. Above all, he conducted himself with class, on and off the track”, said Doug Logan CEO of USA Track and Field.
“He won and lost with dignity, although clearly he won more than he lost. Allen set the standard for hurdling at the World and Olympic level and has inspired a generation of hurdlers, from the U.S. to Cuba to China, who continue to chase his achievements. That chase will continue for years to come.”
Lolo Jones once said, “”In track and field I most admire Allen because I have watched him growing up. I remember Allen, specifically, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I remember how he carried himself on TV and how he represented himself and his country was amazing.”
While Friday marked a bookend to Johnson’s career, to really appreciate his story you have to have met the man only once. He is widely known in track circles for mentoring young athletes on how to make it in the track game and befriending competitors. I’ve seen few hearts as big and as humble an athlete as Johnson.
The dashing, dazzling runs may be gone but Johnson’s contributions to this sport will never be forgotten.
-Doha, (May 14, 2010) Lolo Jones won the 100 meter hurdles by holding off a challenge from Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada to win the women’s 100 meter hurdles in 12.63.
She got slowly out of the block and clipped the first two hurdles before running flawless in the middle and final parts of the race.
She is indisputably back, making a mark on the inaugural IAAF Diamond League meet. Beijing proved not be golden for Jones and in 2009 she battled health issues after pulling a hamstring at Drake Relays.
Always her biggest critic.
“I hit two hurdles, so midway through the race I said there is no way I’ll win,” Jones said. “Then I started pulling things together. I was completed shocked I won. That I was able to get back in control, I was really proud of myself.”
She is looking like the sure-footed, burst of speed hurdler that we have come to know. Her mid-race surge in Doha is a flash back to the confidence shown by the LSU alum during the 2008 season.
An even more impressive 100 meter race by Asafa Powell was a highlight in the men’s race in the absence of fellow country man Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter produced a wind-aided 9.75 seconds.
Bershawn Jackson ran down Kerron Clement in the final 20 meters to win the 400 meter hurdles in 48.66.
For Immediate Release:
USA Track & Field
Jones runs world-leading mark in 100 hurdles.
Lolo Jones proved to the world that she is back to form, running a world-leading 12.47 seconds in winning the women’s 100-meter hurdles Monday at the 25th Vardinoyannia International Track & Field meeting in Rethymno, Greece.
It was a 1-2 finish for the Americans as 2008 Olympic Games fourth-place finisher Damu Cherry took second in 12.53.
The women’s 100 meters was an American clean 1-2-3 sweep by Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, and Stephanie Durst. The 2007 World Outdoor bonze medalist, Jeter ran 10.97 seconds to run away with first place. A two-time Olympic 200m silver medalist and World Outdoor champion, Felix followed in 11.08 and Durst finished with a time of 11.14.
The men’s 100m was won by 2004 World Junior champion Ivory Williams as he was the only one to dip under 10 seconds in the race. Williams ran a personal best 9.93, followed by Mark Jelks, the runner-up in 10.04.
2009 USA Outdoor champion Lashinda Demus continued her hot streak, winning the women’s 400m hurdles in 54.29, as 2008 Olympic Trials champion Tiffany Ross-Williams was second in 54.60. 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson won heat two of the men’s 400mH in 48.55.
2008 Olympians Brian Johnson and Miguel Pate finished third and fourth respectively in the men’s long jump. Johnson’s best leap was 8.04 meters/26 feet 4.5 inches and Pate’s was 7.83m/25-8.25.
2009 USA Indoor runner-up Dexter Faulk again took the runner-up position in the men’s 110m hurdles, finishing in 13.18 on the heals of world record holder Dayron Robles (CUB) who won in 13.17.
Also on the track, 2008 Olympic 400m bronze medalist David Neville won his heat of the men’s 200m in 20.89, while 2008 Olympic 400m gold medalist Lashawn Merritt took third in his heat of the men’s 200m in 20.29. 2004 Olympian LaShaunte’a Moore finished as the runner-up in the women’s 200m, running 22.66. First place was snagged in a world-leading 22.32 seconds by McKenzie Ferguson (BAH).
For more information and complete results from 25th Vardinoyannia International Track & Field meeting, visit www.iaaf.org.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org
For the Inaugural Episode of Off the Track with John W. Davis, I linked up with “Super Senior” Jason Richardson of South Carolina. In April 2009, Richardson became one of the only three-time individual event champions in the storied history of the Penn Relays. His only loss, a 2nd place finish his freshman year in 2005.
Often injured, Richardson comes into the 2009 outdoor season with intense focus and a renewed spirit after missing the final NCAA Indoor Championship meet of his collegiate career due to a strained left hamstring. Overall, Jason is definitely a great interview and a knowledgeable Track fan with great insight and analysis on and off the track.
With an improved start, Richardson hopes to lower a PR of 13.21 in the 110m Hurdles at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Tune into Off the Track with John W. Davis, exclusively on PreRaceJitters.com, on the 1st and 15th of every month.
Off the Track with John W. Davis.
My Style… Their Interview… For Your Ears Only!
- Jason Richardson Named Gamecock Athlete of the Week
- Usain Bolt: The 10 Million Dollar Man?
- Lolo Jones: Running Injured at Drake
Special thanks to Jason Richardson.
-Des Moines, Iowa - April 25, 2009. By Jerry Boyd.
The big stories were nonstop from the 100th Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA. Twenty of the century’s top athletes were honored for their participation over the years, from Jessie Owens to Essie Kelly Washington. Michael Johnson and Gwen Torrence were selected as the male and female athletes of the century. The Drake Relays is in its first year as one of the first outdoor events in the 2009 Visa Championship Series. The weather also claimed its share of the news starting with near perfect weather the first two days and a cold, rainy Saturday for the final day of competition.
Lolo Jones was scheduled to run the 100m hurdles and the fans came to life as she stepped on the wet track in a tuxedo like two-piece uniform. She got a good start but started pulling up before the 8th hurdle and was unable to finish the race. The crowd was stunned as she was carted off holding her right hamstring. Jones later came back on the field to speak to the sold out stadium saying that there had been some soreness for a few weeks and if it had not been the Drake Relays she “would have pulled out” of the meet.
Jones reassured everyone saying, “it is only a slight tear, and is not as bad as it seems.” Again the fans responded with appreciation as Jones walked gingerly off the field. Michigan’s Tiffany Ofili won the race with the worlds third fastest time of 12.82.
In the men’s 400m Special, Olympic Gold medalist and former Drake champion Jeremy Wariner dominated the field, starting strong and hit it hard at the 300m mark to finish with a convincing 45.06 for the second fastest time in the world. This is Wariner’s first 400m of the season and after wards Wariner said, “I really wanted to give the crowd a good show.” The four time Olympic medalist is competing in two week in Osaka.
Lauren Hagans won the women’s 1500m with a strong run of 4:18.24 and Alan Webb continues to be unbeaten at Drake in the men’s mile at 4:00.61
The men’s 400m hurdles featured a heavily loaded field with former LSU standout Isa Phillips taking the win with a 49.60. The cold and rain required a little extra warm up, but Philips said, “at this level you have to be able to compete regardless of the weather”. His next appearance will be in Jamaica next week.
The best race of the day might have been the high school boy’s 4 X 400m relay. On the anchor leg Indianola and Waukee came down the home stretch shoulder to shoulder with Waukee appearing to cross the line first but an out of control lean and hard fall got the win for Indianola by one, one hundredth of a second, 3:23.15.
Once again Baylor is the Drake Relays 4X400m relay champion at 3:05.11. They have compiled an impressive string of victories winning 18 of the last 21 years and 5 straight titles in Des Moines. The victory was also the relays 40th consecutive 4 X 400m collegiate win.
Suzy Powell-Roos won the women’ discus with a throw of 59.15m – 194’01” but second place winner and Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton 58.76m – 192’09” was able to put the day in perspective. Brown-Trafton was prepared for the rain and saying ”it is a great opportunity to not be afraid to compete in wet weather” because the U.S. Championships will be held in Des Moines next year. This was Brown-Trafton’s first competing in Drake and she went on to say, “I am happy that there is a town outside of Eugene that is into track and field”.
Jerry Boyd is a sportswriter for PreRaceJitters.com. All photos by Glenda Boyd.
February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Join hosts Jay Hicks and John W. Davis on this special edition USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Preview show. Read more
This is why the Aviva Grand Prix draws crowd.
Has British distance regained some life?
Britain’s Mo Farah blew again the field, winning by nearly six seconds and lowering his own 3,000 meter British national record to 7:34.47. Farah was all smiles and fist pumping after wards.
Regardless of the time Mo Farah is good theatre.
But fans already knew this and that’s why they packed the house on Saturday.
During this season, Farah broke the British record with 7:40.99 in Glasglow, England, followed that performance up 7:35.95 for 3,000 meters.
This is another reason why fans flock to the Aviva Grand Prix.
World indoor champion Lolo Jones eased to victory in the 60 meter hurdles in 7.82. The time equals her world leading time she put down last week in Germany. Anay Tejeda of Cuba was 0.18 behind.
After wards Jones showed a big grin?
It’s called charisma. And if she didn’t have it, and you weren’t as enthralled and transfixed, would the BBC network have been so eager to make the Aviva Grand Prix a prime-time event on the UK? It’s doubtful.
Jumping off of an international flight and getting three hours rest did not seem to bother Carmelita Jeter as she won the 60 in a personal-best 7.11. Not to be left out of the action, 400 meter Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu ran a stirring come-from-behind victory at 200 meters (23.42).
Yelena Isinbayeva cleared 15 feet, 9 inches to win the pole vault, but failed three times to improve on her own world indoor record of 16-5.
Bernard Lagat was handed a rare lose in the 1,500 meters to Augustine Choge in 3:38.52. Another national record was established, Vivian Cheriuyot of Kenya put down 3,000 meters indoors at 8:30.53. In other races, With a personal best, Britain’s Simeon Williamson took the men’s 60 meters in 6.53.
Click here for the full results of the Aviva Grand Prix.
Three-way battle to victory.
David Oliver, David Payne and Joel Brown compete Saturday in the 60 meter hurdles at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, which is traditionally one of the largest meets of the indoor season. David Oliver is coming into the race with a season’s best performance of 7.45 from Stuttgart from a week ago.
What happens when you try something new?
When you try something new is there excitement? Or is there nervousness? After all it could fail. Reigning champion Christine Ohuruogu is not accustomed to running indoors and adding to matters, she is running the shorter sprints. So far this indoor season, the first female British athlete to win 400 meter Olympic gold, is set to run the 60 and 200 meters and so far they have run 7.36 and 23.41 respectively.
A new world record?
Speaking of new things. Lolo Jones is entering the 60 meter and 60 meter hurdles. The 2008 Olympian placed first in the Aviva International Match last month, while racking up subsequent wins in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and is the world’s number one ranked 60 meter hurdles.
In two attempts Yelena Isinbayeva vaulted 5 meters, breaking her own world indoor pole vault record in Stuggart, her first competition of the season last Sunday. The Russian superstar is the 2008 Beijing champion, current outdoor world record holder and number one ranked in the world.
Of course Isinbayeva is the women to beat this week – or any week. Her competitors won’t deny it. Will the Russian superstar break her own world record again this weekend?
Keep your eyes on these two
Bernard Lagat is undefeated in the 2009 season and is set to tow the 1,500 meter line against Kenya’s Augustine Choge and Portugal’s Rui Silva. Last month, Mo Farah set the 3,000 British national record last month at the Aviva International Match. This meet, the talented British runner is competing in the 3,000 meters, and might lower his national record.
400 meter showdown
Tyler Christopher of Canada, goes head-to-head against Xavier “X Man” Carter and Johan Wissman. The “X Man” is coming off of a 46.98 second victory at the Tyson Invitational, this race however will give a view into how race ready he is right now.
Drop alert: Pamela Jelimo committed to the meet prior to cancelling the rest of her indoor season. Kelly Sotherton pulled out the competition because of a heel injury and hopes to be ready for the next month’s European Indoor Championships in Turin.
The Sparkassen Cup meeting in Stuttgart is a fixture on the series of ten meets making up the IAAF Indoor Permit. Despite the fact that world records attempts did not materialize at the meet this year eight world leads were produced. A top shelf group of athletes were assembled at Stuttgart’s Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle stadium.
Another first occurrence in her career. In front of 7,500 spectators, Lolo Jones blazed 7.85 seconds, another season’s fastest time by .01 seconds in a dominating winning of the 60 meter final.
“I had never won in Stuttgart, despite running here three times, so I wanted to win pretty bad,” said Jones.
In a photo-finish, David Oliver won the 60-meter hurdles in 7.45 secconds, narrowly edging out Russian Evgeniy Borisov – who finished with the same time. Joel Brown of the U.S. placed third in 7.48. Olympic champion Dayron Robles withdrew from the meet on Thursday with an ankle injury.
She put the record out there. Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar ran a season’s best time of 8:26.99 over 3,000 meters. Which was still well off of her own indoor record of 8:23.72, which was set on the same track last year.
In a flat out bonkers performance, Bernard Lagat shattered the world’s top 3,000 meters mark in 7:35.41 to better Britain’s Mohammed Farah, who is coming off a 7:40.99 win in Glasgow.
And in the men’s 1500m, Ethiopia’s Deresse Mekkonen ran a new world leading time of 3:36.41.
Since missing gold in Beijing, the Vlasic Blanka has been brilliant, clearing a world-leading 2.04 in Stuttgart.
A false start was not enough to derail Lolo Jones’ season opener. Jones clocked 7.95 at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday equalling the world lead set by Canada’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep yesterday.
“I’m relieved to get a race under my belt, especially after the false start,” Jones said. “I never false start, so that was shocking to me.”
The 60 meter will be defended by reigning World Indoor champion Angela Williams. She easily won the 60 meters ahead of Chandra Sturrup ( of the Bahamas, although without setting the world on fire. Williams won in 7.32, slighttly head of Sturrup in 0.02s.
Mo Farah smashed the British indoor in the 3,000 records, running 7:40.99. “I knew I was in good shape and winter training has gone well,” said Farah.
Make no mistake, the men’s 400 meters is wide open. Canadian Canada Tyler Christopher’s won the 400m in 47.20 however, that it has been reported that he is battling the flu.
In other news, Dwain Chambers of Great Britain set a new personal best of 6.52, in route to winning the 60-meters at the Birmingham Games.
The time set in the semi-final round is the world-leading time. A former drug cheat, Chambers was prevented from competing in Glasgow after being banned from competitions by the EuroMeets Consortium due to his drugs ban.
Click here for the full Aviva International Match results.