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This weekend marks the 2007 USA National Championships, and once again, we’ll see Jeremy Wariner running, but not in his 400m specialty, thanks to the “Michael Johnson rule” of 1997.
MJ hurt himself in the 150m showdown with Donovan Bailey on June 1st that year, and this new rule (still in effect today) allows previous World Championship winners a bye to the upcoming World Champs.
Rest assured, if Jeremy is healthy and ready, we’ll see him dominate the 400m based on his early season performances. Again. Every year since 2004. That’s 4 years in a row!
For most athletes, what a difference one year makes! As I reminder, I always show these 2 interviews back to back.
One of the greatest 1500m performances that I’ve witnessed in my opinion was Gabe Jennings winning the 2000 Olympic Trials. He started his kick with 570m to go and nobody challenged him. Afterwards, he is on cloud nine as seen in the post-race interview, and he should be!
A year later, at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, he didn’t make it past the first round. In the post-race interview, he admits only running 20 miles a week because of pressures outside of Track & Field.
The lesson? Getting to the top may be hard, but staying on top is even harder. It is important to stay focused year in and year out.
Check out the two videos: