The following CNN sports news video is a segment with former Olympic 100 meter gold medalist Linford Christie, who won for Great Britain. He is talking about the best track athletes of all time. This video was uploaded to the CNN website on August 10, 2012. It originally appeared on Connect The World.
Linford first talked about Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won the 100, 200, 4 X 100 meter relay, and the long jump.
Similarly, Carl Lewis won the same events when he was ruling the roost in Olympic sprints. Lewis won a total of 9 medals and was the first ever to defend the 100 meter gold.
Michael Johnson specialized in the 200 and 400 meters, so he is a little different than the other three. Usain Bolt has now beaten his 200 meter world record. But Johnson still holds the record in the 400 meter run.
Linford Christie’s pick as the best track athlete ever is Usain Bolt. He has defended both the 100 and 200 meters now, winning gold in both Beijing and London. Bolt also added gold medals in the 4 X 100 meter relay.
If you consider times alone, Bolt is way faster than the others with the exception of Michael Johnson. But Johnson ran the 400 and not the 100. So it’s difficult to compare the two.
I personally consider the 100 more of a novelty act than an athletic event. So my pick is Michael Johnson for now. It takes a lot more athleticism to run a 400 meter run in world record time than just being fast over a measly 100 meters. The latter may be the most popular track event, but it doesn’t mean it’s impressive from an overall athletics standpoint.
So of these four, I would pick Michael Johnson. But I would seriously think about maybe picking a decathlete or long-distance runner over any sprinter.