This Day in Black History: Aug. 1, 1996

This Day in Black History: Aug. 1, 1996

Michael Johnson wins Olympic gold and breaks a world record.

Published August 1, 2014

The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta were good year for American wins on home soil. On Aug. 1, 1996, sprinter Michael Johnson broke a world record in the 200 meters and won a gold medal for the United States.

This came just four years after he came down with food poisoning and was unable to pass the qualifying rounds of the 200 meter race in the Barcelona Olympics.

The sprinter went up against Frankie Fredericks of Namibia and Ato Boldon from Trinidad and Tobago, his toughest competitors. Fredericks and Boldon came in second and third place, respectively.

Johnson reportedly “dropped to his knees in disbelief,” after seeing his time in the 200 meter. “His official time of 19.32 seconds” broke the previous record set by him during the Olympic trials.

This wasn’t the first time Johnson broke a record. A few days prior to his Aug. 1 win, the sprinter ran the 400 meters in 43.49 seconds. winning a gold medal and a setting a new world record.

His 200-meter record has yet to be broken by another professional runner.

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(Photo: Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Written by Nicole Phillip

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