Allen Johnson retires; Johnny Weir takes a year-long hiatus
But ironically, I'll remember Johnson for his performance off the track at the Sydney Games in 2000. Johnson finished fourth despite being the pre-race favorite. He limped off the infield reaching for a bum hamstring. Though he was obsessed with fitness, it seemed Johnson's body was never quite right. He regularly pulled hamstrings and calves and went through one season fighting a stress fracture in his pelvis. He emerged as a hurdler only because his first love, the decathlon, was too taxing on his body.
In the tunnel of Sydney Olympic Stadium, Johnson strained, stunned, fighting to find words appropriate for the moment. He said Garcia was the better man that day, that he was proud of Trammell's emergence, that competition is unforgiving, that he would be fine. As he reached for a folding chair to continue the interview, he said injuries are no excuse, and continued to answer questions under physical and emotional duress. "Take care of T," he told us, making sure Trammell got his due in the papers after winning a strong silver.
In a sport that has simply acquired too many bloated egos over the past two decades, Johnson's humor was also refreshing. After a slow heat at the worlds in Edmonton nine years ago, he walked off the track strumming his fingers along an imaginary piano to indicate that he'd been carrying one on his back during the race.
Gay, the 2007 world champ at 100 and 200, crossed in 9.94 seconds, two-hundredths ahead of Jamaica's
• As for
Bolt commands up to $250,000 per appearance and would likely have earned somewhere in that ballpark for nine-point-something seconds of work in the UK. But the tax laws in Britain allow the government to withhold funds not only for appearance fees, but also from an athlete's outside endorsements, leaving the athlete to recoup the money from his own government, having already paid taxes on those funds. Bolt has said he does not expect to run in the UK before the London Games because of the law.
The rift called to mind the controversy spawned by the IAAF when it first began awarding cars, through an event sponsor, for athletes who won gold medals at the world championships. Many athletes complained about the taxes and shipping fees involved with the prizes, and the controversy reached a boiling point when athletes were first told that the sponsor contract did not allow them to decline the car if they won a gold medal. Only when agents started dropping hints that their athletes might skip the meet did prize money first replace non-monetary prizes.
• Powell was among the members of the Jamaican sprinting community who recently rallied around teammate
Fraser pulled out of the meet in Lausanne after learning she had tested positive for the painkiller Oxycodone at a previous meet in Shanghai on May 23. Fraser said she took the drug because of a toothache and forgot to declare the drug to the IAAF.
In 2008, sprinter
Last weekend the Jamaican Anti-Doping Agency dissolved its 15-member board of directors.
• The decision this week by
But Weir is an unapologetic Russophile. He skated to his practices at U.S. nationals in a Russian warm-up jacket, trading das and nyets with his Russian coach
But Weir is also a determined competitor and it would kill him to sit on the sidelines and watch the 2014 Olympics in Sochi from a broadcast booth or coaching position. Here is a bet he will jump and spin at the chance to skate on Russian ice.
• U.S. women rowers had a superb weekend at the prestigious world cup races in Lucerne, Switzerland. The women won gold medals in both the fours and the eights.