When was the last time you had 4 Americans AND 3 British athletes in a 400 meters Olympic or World Championship Final?
POP QUIZ: Who was the lone non-American and non-Brit in that race?
How is 4 athletes possible?
Enter the “Michael Johnson Rule” of 1997. When he strained his quad in the Donovan Bailey – Michael Johnson showdown in post Atlanta 1997, he missed the USATF Nationals which was the selection for Worlds. Since the IAAF knew he was a big draw for the meet, they amended the rule to allow past champions back. This is very similar to a Golf Major like the Masters or British Open.
MJ won that race in 44.12. Not bad considering injuring his quad on June 1 of that year.
6th IAAF World Championships In Athletics Athína 01/10-Aug-97
Official Results – 400 METRES – Men – Final
Tuesday, August 05, 1997 – 20:40
Pos Lane Athlete Country Mark
1 4 Johnson Michael USA 44.12
2 7 Kamoga Davis UGA 44.37 (NR)
3 3 Washington Tyree USA 44.39 (PB)
4 5 Richardson Mark GBR 44.47 (PB)
5 6 Young Jerome USA 44.51
6 2 Thomas Iwan GBR 44.52
7 8 Pettigrew Antonio USA 44.57 (SB)
8 1 Baulch Jamie GBR 45.22
Rewind back one year to 1996. We all know who won the 400m Gold in Atlanta. So who came second?
Roger Black, who is missing in the above list. Add him to the 4x400m relay pool, and …
Who the heck is Roger Black?
If you like Track & Athletics books, especially the 400 meters, then you’ll love his autobiography How Long’s the Course?. UK residents can buy it here from Amazon.co.uk. You can easily buy it used for a $0.01 plus shipping (see Amazon ad). That’s what I did.
His PB is 44.37 set in Lausanne prior to Atlanta 1996. His silver medal from Atlanta was one of the highlights in his long career.
Listen to the Podcast with Iwan Thomas for a great read on the GB rivalry (along with Jamie Baulch and Mark Richardson) back in the mid 1990’s. Where are they now?
Another big moment in Roger Black’s career was winning the 4x400m relay in 1991 in a rare defeat from the Americans.
His resume and longevity is impressive:
His initial 1986 Commonwealth Gold in the 400m, a Silver in the 1987 Rome WC 4x400m relay, the great 4x400m relay Gold in 1991 Tokyo WC (plus a Silver in the individual 400m), the 4x400m Bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, two Silvers in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in both 400m and 4x400m relay, and finally the upgraded Gold medal in the 1997 Athens WC 4x400m relay thanks to the honesty of Antonio Pettigrew.
Roger Black was definitely NOT a “Flash in the Pan”… something or someone who disappoints by failing to deliver anything of value, despite a showy beginning.
ANSWER TO POP QUIZ: Davis Kamoga of Uganda 2nd in 44.37!
Doug Gray says
I was hoping you could answer a question for me regards Clyde Hart Training versus Mike Smith training.
I have downloaded Clyde Hart’s 400m training and the ‘fall’ or pre christmas works includes mostly track intervals, with aerobic runs only being 1 mile warm / warm downs. His credentials are obviously as good as it gets in the USA so you would asume this is the only way to train 400m sept – dec. However Mike Smith, arguably the UK’s greatest 400m coach (Iwan Thomas, Roger black, Kriss Akabussi e.t.c) says that pre christmas work should consist mainly of hills in the woods or sand dunes, aerobic runs, circuits, weights, plyometrics e.t.c with no or little track sessions at all until December in order to build a good aerobic base before the anaerobic interval works starts.
They are both experts with success so how can the training be so different with the same goal – your best one lap in the summer???
Jimson Lee says
@Doug – with the major meets over, I am currently on vacation, but I will answer your question when I get back!
Jimson Lee says
@Doug – 1st, Clyde Hart has great HIGH SCHOOl prospects coming to him. They have sub 21 sec 200m guys so they already have good speed. 2nd, the UK system likes the old fashion lactic based workouts. Have you had a chance to listen to the Jared Deacon interview?
It all comes down to the short to long or long to short dogma. If you saw Tyler Christopher’s workouts, you’ll be amazed at the short distances… not the traditional high volume workouts, because he would just break down.
I still feel a good fall GPP base (Sept/Oct) is important. You need to do the work.