Last updated on: 12/4/2008 | Author:

Michael Johnson Biography

Four-time Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Accepted in Sports?"

“I have said that I don’t buy the excuse of athletes saying that they felt they had to use drugs because they felt most of their competition was doing so. I still don’t buy that, but I now realise that most of the athletes using drugs probably knew who else was using drugs. I can see how an athlete might feel that taking drugs is the only way to beat other athletes who he or she knows to be on drugs.

I also said in the past that I don’t buy the excuse that coaches are pressuring athletes to use drugs and used myself as an example that in my four years as a junior and 11 years as a professional no one ever approached me about using drugs. Now I realise that when I chose Clyde Hart, the only coach I ever had, because of his reputation for honesty and integrity, I would be shielded from the dirty and dishonest side of the sport and that everyone wasn’t as fortunate to have a coach with such a solid reputation, conscience, and righteous moral compass.

I am deeply disappointed in Antonio and in the sport of athletics. I now realise that there have been a significant number of athletes and coaches in this sport who have cheated and taken the short cut, and many of them knew who else was cheating…

As for the gold medal I won with Antonio, and Alvin and Calvin Harrison, who have all admitted to or have tested positive for drugs since 2000 when we won the medal, I’m sure that there will be calls for us to give it back. I’m not sure what will happen with that effort, but I know that the medal was not fairly won and that it is dirty, and so I have moved it from the location where I have always kept my medals because it doesn’t belong there. And it doesn’t belong to me. So, as difficult as it is, I will be returning it to the International Olympic Committee because I don’t want it. I feel cheated, betrayed and let down.”

“Michael Johnson: Why Drugs Cheat Shamed Me Into Handing Back Olympic Relay Gold Medal,” USA Today, June 3, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • President, Michael Johnson Performance Center (MJPC)
  • Commentator and Analyst, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • Founder, Ultimate Performance Sport Management, 2004-present
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) after Antonio Pettigrew admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs stripped Michael Johnson and his 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medalist 4x400m relay teammates Antonio Pettigrew, Alvin Harrison, Calvin Harrison, Jerome Young, and Angelo Taylor of their medals, Aug. 2008
  • Announced publicly his voluntary return of his gold medal won from his 2000 Sydney Olympic Games relay, June 2008
  • Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Michael Johnson and his 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medalist relay teammates could keep their medals except for Jerome Young who was disqualified for performance-enhancing drugs, July 2005
  • Elected to the United States Track & Field Hall of Fame, 2004
  • Gold medalist (disqualified by the IOC as of Aug. 2008), 4x400m relay, Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, 2000
  • Gold medalist, 400m, Summer Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000
  • Two-time gold medalist, 200m, 400m, Summer Olympic Games, Atlanta, GA, 1996
  • Gold medalist, 4x400m relay, Summer Olympic Games, Barcelona, Spain, 1992
  • BA, Marketing, Baylor University, 1990
  • First man to be ranked number one in the world at both 200m and 400m races
  • Broke world records in the 200m, 400m, and 4x400m relay races
  • Nine-time World Champion
  • Established a record of 13 Olympic and World Championship gold medals
  • Born on Sep. 13, 1967 in Dallas, TX
  • Full name is Michael Duane Johnson
Quoted in:
  1. Should the Teammates of Athletes Who Are Found Guilty of Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs in the Olympics Also Return Their Medals?