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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Track and Field

Johnson's Sore Hamstring Will Keep Him Out of Relay

August 03, 1996|RANDY HARVEY

ATLANTA — Michael Johnson probably could anchor the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team to an Olympic gold medal tonight on one leg. But he won't try.

Johnson, who said that he felt a twinge in his right hamstring about five meters from the finish line in his world-record 200 meters Thursday night, withdrew from the relay team Friday morning.

"I have a little tightness in the lower right hamstring," he said. "There are a lot of guys capable of running, and I don't want to hurt the chances for a gold medal."

Johnson, 28, of Dallas, was expected to win his third gold medal of these Games in the relay after becoming the first man to win the 200 and 400 meters.

"I had a goal to win three gold medals," he said. "So I'm disappointed I won't be able to run the 4-by-400. But you can't have everything."

Even without the nation's two fastest quarter-milers--Johnson and Butch Reynolds--the United States easily qualified Friday for tonight's final by winning its first-round and semifinal heats. Reynolds, who pulled up in the 400 semifinals Sunday because of cramps in both hamstrings, will not run tonight either.

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