The 2008 Beijing Olympics
on the BBC
BBC TV team Olympic impressions
BBC athletics analyst Michael Johnson
dominated the international track scene for a
decade and is the only man in history to both
win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the
400m, and Olympic gold medals in both 200m
Johnson chose to end his career
after his double Olympic gold medal effort at
the 2000 Olympic Games, finishing his career
with an impressive total of 19 championship
Since retiring Michael has achieved success
across a number of commercial activities and in
Britain he has become a familiar face on
television as a commentator and analyst for
BBC Sport, where he has been an essential
part of the BBC team at every major
international athletics events since the 2000
In 2002, Johnson was awarded the
Television Pundit of the Year Award by the
Royal Television Society.
"For me the Olympics means all the history.
It's a great sports spectacle which brings
together people from all cultures,
backgrounds, religions and races. It's a
wonderful and rewarding experience.
you're there it's the pinnacle of achievement
for an athlete so you don't really think too
much about the enjoyment. I competed from
start to finish so I was totally focused on my
events and didn't have time to see other stuff
"The most significant moment of my career
was the Atlanta Olympics, [when he became
the only man to have won both the 200m and
400m gold medals.]
"The most enjoyable was
Sydney as I'd been ill and my young son, who'd
just been born, was in the stands, so to be
there with him was really special.
"I didn' t
watch much TV when I was younger, I was too
busy out playing sport. The first Olympics I
really took notice of was 1984 when I was in
"I've been to Beijing several times. It's an
exciting city – you go there to a restaurant
with friends and then a year later you go back
and that restaurant is no longer there.
investment the government has made in
infrastructure is incredible – the Chinese are
great at organising things – and Beijing will
undoubtedly put on a great show – quite
possibly the most spectacular Olympic
ceremonies ever staged. The entire country is
behind the Games and excited about hosting
the world, and about the Chinese athletes.
"The Games is all about putting money into
sport and in China it's government money
rather than sponsorship, which goes in and
then gets shifted back to where it was, so
hopefully it will stay in sport.
"And as they
have been training their coaches rather than
just their athletes then they will be able to
train future generations too.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing all the
athletics events and I'm always looking for the
unexpected new star – there are so many
new athletes coming through lately, it will
make it very exciting.
"It will be interesting to
see the Chinese athletes – my performance-training
company has worked with them for
the past three years training their sprinters. I'd
say they are currently a B nation (if A are the
likes of the US, Russia, etc); there is no real
history and tradition there, and the training
programmes and methods have been far
behind where they need to be for their
athletes to reach real potential.
"But after being awarded the Games they
made the commitment to invest in foreign
coaching experience and sending their
coaches and athletes to the US to learn.
They do have a couple of strong medal
hopes in Liu Xiang, the 110m hurdler and
Athens gold medallist – who is the face of
the Games – and Xing Huina, Olympic
10,000m champion in Athens.
"As far as Britain's medal hopes go, I'm
looking at Kelly Sotherton in the heptathlon –
you may say that you want Carolina Kluft to
be there because you want to beat the
world's No. 1, but if the world's No. 1 isn't
there it must fill you full of confidence.
Christine Ohuruogu – after having not been
able to compete and then on returning
becoming world champion, the pressure is
on for her. Now it's another year and
expectations are raised by that win.
"Looking ahead to 2012, I always enjoy
coming to London, it's a great city, an
international city so I'll be looking forward to
coming here again for the Games.
"Team GB has had a culture of rewarding
mediocrity previously and there was no
hunger in the athletes, no desire, but since
the Commonwealth Games it's been a lot
better. They've taken criticism from people
like me and upped their game. Now 2012 has
put back their desire so hopefully that will be
the legacy of 2012.
"I'm not sure Team GB will win a lot of
medals on the track there, but maybe in
"I think London has planned especially well in
terms of legacy and ecological responsibility
and it could leave a blueprint of organising a
Games the right way, with these key factors