Legendary American sprinter and Michael Johnson has questioned Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan’s world record, in the women’s final of the 100m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.
Amusan clocked a time of 12.12 seconds in the 100m hurdles semi-final on Sunday.
She then went on to win the final with an even faster time of 12.06, shattering the existing world record set by American Kendra Harrison in 2016—by 0.08 seconds.
For winning gold and breaking the world record, the World Athletics awarded her with $100,000 prize.
But it is argued that her feat did not count as an official world record due to a +2.5m/s tailwind blowing during the event.
And in his analysis for the BBC, four-time Olympic gold medallist Johnson questioned the accuracy of the timings in the event.
He highlighted the fact that out of the 24 athletes who had competed in the three semi-final events, 12 recorded new personal bests.
The recorded level of competition was so high that a time of 12.52 meant competitors wouldn’t even make the final, despite it being a time that would have won the world title at six previous world championships.
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct,” Johnson tweeted after the event. “World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR ‘I thoroughly I was running slow!’ All athletes looked shocked,” he added.
However, Johnson’s remarks did not go down well with most Nigerians on social media who criticized Johnson, labeling the American athlete “bitter.” One tweeted: “Just because it’s not an American WR doesn’t mean the times were incorrect.”
Another fumed: “Michael Johnson are you naturally this dumb or do you have to put in effort? Why don’t you channel your energy to recovering from your stroke you Black racist! Toby Amusan is a world record holder and there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Johnson later addressed the criticisms, tweeting: “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.”