Michael Johnson tips GB quartet for Olympic relay medal
US legend believes Christine Ohuruogu’s best medal hopes lie in the 4x400m relay
Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson insists should Christine Ohuruogu’s individual event go awry at this week’s Games, she still stands a great chance of a medal in the 4x400 metres.
The Newham & Essex Beagle will go to London 2012 as the woman in form after an impressive win last time out at the Aviva London Grand Prix.
The 28-year-old emerged victorious in a field that included the reigning world champion Amantle Montsho and will go to the capital optimistic of defending her Olympic crown.
But disaster is always around the corner in athletics; indeed look no further than Daegu at the World Championships last year where Ohuruogu false-started and found herself disqualified from her heat.
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But, with her form as good as it has been since 2008, Johnson insists that the 4x400m women’s event remains Britain’s best hope of a relay medal at the Games.
“The British women’s 4x400m relay is a strong team,” said Johnson, who was speaking following the launch of his new mobile phone apps, Michael Johnson’s Motiv8 and Michael Johnson’s Fun Run, which are aimed at the health and fitness market.
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“Of the relay races in London I would have to say this is Britain’s best chance of a medal if they can all perform at their best.
“They’ve got a strong combination of youth and experience in that team, the older wiser heads who have been there and done it all before, girls like Nicola (Sanders) and Lee (McConnell) have run plenty of relays before.
“And then of course you’ve got Christine, that’s a big plus.
“The team know she will be a potential medallist in the individual events and that will give her and the rest of the team a lot of confidence.
“If you know your job is to just try to keep your anchor leg in contact with the potential medallist then that’s a lot easier and then they can leave Christine to do her job and it could be a podium celebration for them.”
Johnson’s crowning glory came in Atlanta in 1996 when in front of a home crowd he stormed to gold in both the 400m and 200m, a double that has never been accomplished before or since at the Games.
And the 44-year-old, whose world record for the 400m set in Seville in 1999 still stands to this day, has called on Ohuruogu to make the most of the home support as he did 16 years ago.
“I think the biggest advantage of being at home is in the lead up to the Games,” he said.
“The British athletes are trying to be at their best every day so they can be at their best at the Olympics – it’s the pinnacle for them.
“They are reminded every single day because of the build-up to the Games that’s been going on for the last few years, of what they’re training for.
“Every day you’re not going to be motivated 100 per cent. It’s great motivation if you’re not feeling quite right, when you see an Olympic billboard reminding you of what’s coming, that it’s a great opportunity you have. I had that in 1996 at Atlanta.
“For some athletes it may actually be more pressure than they can handle at a home Games. For me it was great having that American crowd.”
Get your fitness back on track and teach your kids the importance of healthy eating with Michael Johnson’s Motiv8 itunes.apple.com/gb/app/michael-johnson-motiv8/id501945154?mt=8 and Michael Johnson’s Fun Run itunes.apple.com/gb/app/michael-johnsons-fun-run/id536103489?mt=8. Available to download now from the iTunes App Store