To the surprise of many, American track-and-field legend Michael Johnson is being accused of racism after questioning the legitimacy of the blistering times recorded in the 100-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set,” Johnson tweeted, leading to an avalanche of criticism.
Twitter users said Johnson questioned the results because he was bitter after seeing the record-breaking performance of Nigerian athlete Tobi Amusan, who recorded 12.12 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles semi-final, according to The Daily Beast.
Johnson, who works as an analyst for the BBC, went back to Twitter to address the backlash.
“As a commentator my job is to comment. In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on,” he wrote.
After setting a record in the semi-final, Amusan ran even faster in the final, finishing with a time of 12.06.
However, the result didn’t count as an official world record due to a +2.5m/s tailwind blowing during the event.