Mar 27, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt can break 19 seconds in the 200m, as he’s said before, but isn’t sure if Bolt has passed his prime yet.
Johnson, the former 200m world record holder, was asked about Bolt, the current 200m world record holder, at the Laureus Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Johnson broke the 200m world record twice in 1996, clocking 19.66 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials and 19.32 at the Atlanta Olympics. Bolt took it lower with a 19.30 at the 2008 Olympics and 19.19 at the 2009 World Championships.
“I think [Bolt] could go under 19 seconds, but then beyond that I’m not quite sure,” Johnson said, according to Sportal. “Technically, he’s not the best. Technically he’s a little bit all over the place and that’s a race where the longer it goes, the more you need to be really efficient in order to be able to maintain the level of speed that you want.
“And so that’s something that, if were to clean up some of those things, I think he could go under 19 seconds.”
The comments echo what Johnson said in 2011. Johnson has also said Bolt could run the 100m in 9.4 seconds. The current mark, set by Bolt in 2009, is 9.58.
Even though Johnson says Bolt could go faster, he also cautioned that the Jamaican superstar’s fastest days may be behind him. Bolt is 27 years old. Johnson was 28 when he broke those world records in 1996.
“If I had to guess and go out there and say whether or not we’ve seen the best of him, I would say probably, but you never know with him,” Johnson said, according to the report. “There’s the argument for both. You could say that, as a sprinter gets older you’re not going to get faster, probably, you’re going to get slower and not faster.
“Then on the other side of things, I don’t know if he has done everything that he possibly could to go out there and be the best that he can be.”
Johnson also pointed out that Jamaica’s reign in sprinting could last beyond the era of Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who is also 27.
“You’ve got young kids there inspired by the success of Bolt and [Yohan] Blake and all of the Jamaican team, plus there’s been renewed investment in coaching and great training too,” he said, according to Yahoo. “The Jamaicans will continue to be tough for years to come.”
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