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The race was billed as a competition for the title of "World's Fastest Man".
On July 18, 2004, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled that Jerome Young was ineligible to compete in Sydney and annulled all his past results, including those achieved as part of relay teams.
In 1997 Johnson began appearing in Nike television advertisements in which he was billed as "World's fastest man" as a result of his 200 m world record.
This was despite the fact that the 100 metres world record holder, at the time Donovan Bailey (Canada), was typically given that unofficial title.
With that performance he qualified to run at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and prepared to attempt to win both the 200 metres and 400 metres events, a feat never before achieved by a male athlete.
(Two women have won Olympic gold medals in both races in the same year: Valerie Brisco-Hooks in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and Marie-José Pérec, in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.) Johnson entered the Olympic finals donning a custom-designed pair of golden-colored Nike racing spikes made with Zytel, causing him to be nicknamed "The Man With the Golden Shoes".
Of those, he holds 14 of the top 25 times for the 400 metres.
He broke 44 seconds for the 400 metres twenty-two times, more than twice as many times as any other athlete.
Johnson was plagued by injury in 1999, and his following season was troubled with two injury scares that limited him to just four 400 m races before the 1999 World Championships in Seville. He recovered and won his fourth 400 metre world title with a new world record time of 43.18 seconds at the relatively late age of 31 years and 11 months, which stood for nearly 17 years before being beaten at the 2016 Olympics by the South African Wayde van Niekerk.
Were it not for the IAAF policy established two years earlier for Johnson, that allowed automatic entry to defending champions, he could not have raced in Seville since he failed to compete in the U. Johnson's splits for this world record were 21.22 seconds for the opening 200 metres and 21.96 seconds for the closing 200 metres, giving a differential of 0.74 seconds.
Among his early collegiate feats, Johnson broke the school record for the 200 m in his very first race with a time of 20.41, and in 4 × 400 m relays he clocked a leg at 43.5. He did not qualify in the 400 m and he withdrew from the 200 m.
He prepared for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, but developed a stress fracture of his left fibula before the U. In 1989, he placed 2nd in the 400 at the USA Indoor Championship, while at the NCAA Outdoor Championship he led off runner-up Baylor in the 4 x 400 with a time of 43.8 and won the 200 in 20.59.
Sources differ on the exact weight of these shoes; the manufacturer of the spikes claims they weighed 3 ounces (85 g) each, On July 29, Johnson easily captured the 400 m Olympic title with an Olympic Record time of 43.49 seconds, 0.92 seconds ahead of silver medalist Roger Black of Great Britain.