Home A Column By Len Johnson

A Column By Len Johnson

Len Johnson wrote for The Melbourne Age as an athletics writer for over 20 years, covering five Olympics, 10 world championships and five Commonwealth Games.

He has been the long-time lead columnist on RT and is one of the world’s most respected athletic writers.

He is also a former national class distance runner (2.19.32 marathon) and trained with Chris Wardlaw and Robert de Castella among other running legends. He is the author of The Landy Era.

If I had to pick one abiding memory of the third world championships in Tokyo in 1991 it would be the humidity which descended on your shoulders like a heavy cloak the moment you stepped outside.
The ancient Romans called Rome the eternal city because they believed that no matter what happened to the world, or however empires rose and fell, Rome would go on forever. Sadly, the second world championships in 1987 in Rome went on without me. Having been to the first edition in...
On 15 May 1983, Petranoff launched his Pacer III javelin from one end of Drake Stadium just down the road from Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and it landed 99.72 metres away perilously close to the other end of the oval. It was enough to make governing bodies ponder the event’s future.
Sometime soon – very soon, most probably – Tamsyn Manou will no longer boast a performance in the top-10 all-time at 800 metres.
Australia’s first medallist at the world championships in Budapest this year will also be our 40th world championships medallist.
A (slightly) revisionist view of the London marathon. Kelvin Kiptum ran home in splendid isolation to win the London marathon, covering the second half of the race in 59:45 to miss Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by just 16 seconds. Sifan Hassan came from desolate isolation to top a stellar women’s...
Is 10 seconds for the men’s 100 metres going the way of four minutes for the mile as measure of elite performance.
For the first time in quite a few years I wasn’t at the nationals. Not by choice: the situation was imposed on me, first by a scheduled trekking trip to Nepal, then by the flaring up of a back condition which forced the cancellation of the former and precluded...
If, like me, you think innovation in athletics started with Nitro and those introductions were athletes trot onto the track past a couple of exploding gas canisters, then you’ve probably never heard of the International Track Association. Fifty years ago this month (I can write that because it’s 31 March...
Good grief. Are the national championships really coming up in Brisbane in a week’s time. I guess they must be. I’ve been getting emails advertising the fact all this past week.