Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Johnson, Lewis Good as Gold

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Johnson, Lewis Good as Gold

Article excerpt

Michael Johnson won a medal at 400 meters on Monday night to match his golden shoes, but he will have to wait to win the title as the world's greatest track and field athlete. Carl Lewis upstaged Johnson at the Summer Olympics with his fourth consecutive victory in the long jump and his record-tying ninth gold medal in his Olympic career. He is 35 now, but conceding nothing in these golden years.

In one of the country's momentous nights in track and field, Allen Johnson provided a third gold medal, winning the 110-meter hurdles in 12.95 seconds, an Olympic record. But while Johnson won the 400 in 43.49 seconds, with the second-widest margin of victory in the century of the modern Games, and Lewis sailed 27 feet 10 3/4 inches, his longest jump in two years, the grandness of the evening was compromised by the continuation of an edgy rivalry between the two stars.

Neither athlete appears to be able to look in the mirror without seeing the other's reflection. Both are also 200-meter runners, so their careers are forever entwined.

But they are not friends, and they are not likely ever to be. That became apparent after neither could accept victory on Monday night without a swipe at the other.

"I never said he should pass the torch to me," Johnson said of Lewis. "What I said as far as Carl trying to be the premier athlete in track and field, I feel he should step down from that. That's going to be a matter of opinion. I'm not in any competition. I'm just trying to win as many gold medals as I can so I can get my name up there with guys like Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens. My objective is not to replace Carl Lewis."

Johnson, 28, of Dallas, has two career gold medals now, the other on the 4x400-meter relay in 1992. He is seeking to become the first man to w in both the 200 and 400 meters at the same Olympics. The final of the 200 is scheduled for Thursday, and Johnson is the world-record holder at 19. …

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