Michael Johnson, legendary American sprinter, has responded to critics who condemned him for casting doubts on Tobi Amusan’s world record-setting race.
Recall that Amusan, a Nigerian sprinter, in the early hours of Monday, set a new world record in the women’s 100 meters hurdles as she dipped 12.12 seconds in the semi-finals.
The Nigerian would then go on to clock a wind-aided 12.06 seconds in the final, winning the gold medal at the World Athletic Championship.
Following the race, Johnson, the four-time Olympic gold medal winner with Team USA, said he does not believe that the electric timer of the race is correct.
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR “I throughly I was running slow!” All athletes looked shocked,” he wrote via his twitter handle, @MJGold
“Heat 2 we were first shown winning time of 12.53. Few seconds later it shows 12.43. Rounding down by .01 is normal. .10 is not”
His comment attracted a wave of condemnatory remarks from Nigerians on Twitter — with some accusing him of “racism”.
In the wake of the growing backlash, the American, in another tweet on his verified Twitter handle, defended his stance.
He also described the outrage as “unacceptable.”
He added that he did not single out Amusan’s time but question the time of all athletes involved.
“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 tweeted.