‘Calm down, Britain,’ Michael Johnson said following Team GB’s success on the track.
MICHAEL JOHNSON effectively advised Team GB to relax as he downplayed the team’s performance on the track.
As Team GB looks to add to their medal record, Michael Johnson is once again a major feature in the BBC’s Tokyo 2020 coverage. The four-time gold medalist from the United States has been critical of Team GB in recent years. This included his remarks in 2014, when he asked fans to “calm down” after the United Kingdom won a slew of medals at the European Championships.
With a record haul of 12 golds and 23 medals, Britain topped the medal tally for only the third time in European Championships history, prompting performance director Neil Black to throw down the gauntlet to the rest of the globe.
As the 2014 season came to an end, Johnson, who also holds eight global titles, warned that “British Athletics is not out of the woods.”
“If you look back over multiple years, youthful talent hasn’t been a problem,” he remarked. Britain has produced a lot of skill and potential, but the capacity to nurture it at a senior level has been a problem.
“It is now on to British Athletics to provide the athletes with the assistance and support they require. They aren’t out of the woods yet; they are still battling to flourish on the international scene.
“Harry Aikines-Aryeetey [the 100m sprinter]is a wonderful talent who continues to suffer, and Martyn Rooney [the European 400m champion]is also struggling. People are excited about the young British talent coming up, but we said the same thing four or five years ago.” Johnson’s message to Team GB, according to the Evening Standard, was “Calm down, Britain… You’ve got some way to go before you can take world athletics by storm.” Johnson has previously chastised Team GB.
He argued in 2006 that British culture “rewards Britain’s best, not the world’s greatest.”
“[British sprinters] have lost their hunger, and it is the system that is causing them to lose their hunger,” he continued.
“Middle performance is rewarded by the system. It honors the best of Great Britain, not the greatest of the world.
“When you look at who will be the next [in British sprinting], there isn’t anyone.
“Young athletes emerge with promise, but if they rise through the ranks, they will follow in their footsteps.
“You have to.” – Brinkwire Summary News.