One of the most distinctive sprinters in the history of track and field with his powerful, upright stride pattern, Johnson is widely regarded as the greatest 400 metres runner of all time. Five times an Olympic champion, he piled up a career total of nine World Championship gold medals by the time he retired from competition after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Between 1990 and 1997, he created a remarkable sequence of 58 consecutive wins over 400 metres.
He was also an outstanding sprinter in the 200 metres and in that event strung together a winning streak of 32 races between 1990 and 1992. The Texan became the first man to hold both the 200 metres and 400 metres world records and is the only male athlete to defend successfully the Olympic 400 metres crown.
His first Olympic gold came in Barcelona in 1992 when he was a member of the winning American 4 x 400 metres relay team. Four years later in 1996 at Atlanta, he became the only athlete in more than 100 years of Olympic history to clinch the double over both 200 and 400 metres at the same Games. He set a world record with his time of 19.32 seconds in the 200 metres and finished metres ahead of silver medallist Frankie Fredericks of Namibia.
At the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Johnson shattered the 11-year-old 400 metres world record of Butch Reynolds when he clocked 43.18 seconds - his fourth successive title over the distance. He also added gold in the 4 x 400 metres relay in Seville, which took him to a career total of nine World Championship gold medals, one better than Carl Lewis.
At the age of 33, he rounded off his distinguished Olympic career with his fourth and fifth gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Games, winning the 400 metres and being part of the winning American 4 x 400 metres relay team.
Johnson retired from competition as world-record holder over both 200 and 400 metres and having collected six individual and three relay gold medals during his remarkable World Championship career. He was also the co-holder of the world record in the 4 x 400 metres relay, after the United States team set a time of 2:54.20 at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Now he is a respected television commentator and newspaper analyst and runs Michael Johnson Performance, a sports performance training company