Former US track and field star Michael Johnson has hit back at accusations of racism after questioning the accuracy of times at the World Athletics Championships.
Johnson’s doubts arose when Nigeria’s Toby Amosan set a world record in the 100m hurdles semi-finals with a time of 12.12 seconds. She was faster in the finals with the help of the winds. She had placed fourth at the Olympics last year and fourth at the World Championships in 2019.
It wasn’t the record-breaking performance that surprised, but everyone else in the race scored their personal best, according to the New York Times.
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Johnson, who has won four Olympic gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relays during his career, wondered if the hurdle times were right.
“I don’t think 100 hours are correct. The world record is broken by .08! 12 point set. 5 national record set. And Cindy Simper quotes after her PB/NR ‘I’ve been running slow the whole time!'” “All the athletes looked shocked,” he wrote. “Heat 2, we first appeared that we won with a time of 12.53. A few seconds later it appeared 12.43. Rounding by 0.01 is normal. 10 is not.”
Johnson was met with accusations of being biased towards the Nigerian team.
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“As a commentator, my job is to comment. In my questioning of the times of 28 athletes (not one athlete) by questioning whether the timing system was broken, I was attacked, accused of racism, and questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and expected to win. Unacceptable. I am moving on.” chirp.
Amosan said after the race that she did not expect to set a world record, but believed in her abilities as a hurdler.
“I believe in my abilities, but I was not expecting a world record in these tournaments,” she said. “The goal is always good execution and a win.”
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American Kenny Harrison set the previous record by 0.08 seconds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.