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Johnson Begins Pursuit of 200 Victory Tonight

June 21, 1996|RANDY HARVEY

ATLANTA — After winning the 400 meters in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials Wednesday night with the third-fastest time ever, Michael Johnson resumes his campaign tonight to become the first man to win that event and the 200 in the same Olympics.

Having earned his place on the U.S. team in the 400 with his 53rd consecutive victory in a final, he is hoping to extend his winning streak in 200 finals to 21 Sunday. First, he has to advance beyond tonight's first round and Saturday's quarterfinals and semifinals.

Johnson expects competition from defending Olympic champion Michael Marsh, 1995 World Championships bronze-medalist Jeff Williams and '84 Olympic champion Carl Lewis.

Williams, who is from Los Angeles, is confident. Of Johnson, he said, "He's finished."

Johnson laughed when he heard that Wednesday night.

"Jeff's a wonderful runner," he said. "I think he's got a great shot to make the team. I think he's got a terrible shot to beat me.

"Jeff and I have a good relationship. He'll get a kick out of reading that."

There are three finals tonight at the Centennial Olympic Stadium--the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the men's 5,000 and the women's 10,000. Also scheduled are the first five events of the decathlon, featuring three-time world champion Dan O'Brien, and the women's long jump qualifying, featuring 1988 Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

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