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.

By Len Johnson The drama continued at Budapest’s national athletics centre on day five of the world championships as Australia’s Nina Kennedy went clearance for clearance with world and Olympic champion Katie Moon in the pole vault, sharing the gold medal, and in an even bigger sensation Josh Kerr eclipsed...
Well, there you are, history does repeat after all. After the drama of day three, the final playing out of day four was not quite as dramatic, even if it did follow a similar pattern.
By Len Johnson Officially day three of Budapest23 lasted for just over three hours, beginning with the always-interminable pole vault qualifying at 6:40pm and concluding with the women’s 100 final at 9:50. There was no morning session. Actually, day three was condensed into not much more than 10 minutes at the...
Noah Lyles is a great athlete, a multiple gold medallist the announcer kept pointing out, conveniently ignoring the fact none of these wins were at 100 metres, the distance being raced at the time. His 9.83 is a moderate performance compared to Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58 set atht eh Berlin 2009 worlds.
Day one of a world championships always asks many questions. Who’s up for it? Who’s not? How are the assumptions we brought into the meeting standing up to the test of the day’s results?
One of the stranger things about the world championships is waiting for them to start. There is a hell of a build up and then, two weeks or so out from opening day, we go into a state of suspended animation.
Forty years ago, at the first world championships in Helsinki, there was little doubt which athlete was “the face of the championships.”
The news this week of the collapse of the alleged drug case against Peter Bol was greeted by the athlete as a complete exoneration and by Sport Integrity Australia as “a decision not to progress an anti-doping rule violation for this sample.”
Sure, super-shoes. OK, pacing lights, too. But something’s going on here and (like Dylan’s Mr Jones) we don’t know what it is.
There’s just one thing I want to say about the commentary, which is that I do not ever again want to hear an ‘expert’ earnestly informing me that the Commonwealth Games are NOT THE OLYMPIC GAMES. Here’s a hint fellers (earnest experts are invariably male): the clue is in the name.