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.

Zurich’s fabled Weltklasse meeting has often been dubbed “the Olympics in one day.” It’s a fair call. Usually staged within a week of the conclusion of the year’s major championships – Olympic, world or European – Zurich re-packages the just concluded championship as three hours’ non-stop action. The champions can...
Many tried. Only a handful succeeded. Context is everything. One day you’re writing that one good thing about the first day is that you get to see every competitor in the day’s heats and qualifying rounds, even if they’re not yet going head-to-head; the next, you’re hit by the painful...
I love the world cross-country championships. At a personal level, however, I can take cross-country or leave it.
There is a Chinese curse which goes, “May you live in interesting times.” What seems to be a blessing, in fact, drips irony, the underlying implication being that un-interesting times denote peace and tranquillity. Interesting times, by contrast, are marked by disorder and conflict. In a similar sense, Harry Summers is...
Well, there you go. Just a couple of days before the Diamond League final in Eugene this weekend DL organisers announced a new system of wildcard entries.Seemingly moments later again, out come the entries. Guess what? A number of US athletes who have shown scant interest in the diamond league all year long are suddenly in the fields for the final, that’s what. The most notable? Athing Mu in the 800 metres.
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.
A COLUMN BY LEN JOHNSON The theory of running rounds is that the best eight, 12 or 15 runners make the final. The cream rises to the top, so they say. But are there too many clots being pulled up with the cream. Two thoughts occurred to me about the track events...
We need to talk about drugs: A Column By Len Johnson We need to talk about drugs, performance-enhancing drugs. Sorry if you think there has already been enough discussion on the matter, but we need to talk some more. Everyone from Lord Coe to Vladimir Putin – and that encompasses a...
Started with Bathurst, finished with Melbourne. World cross-country champions crowned; world track and field champions acclaimed at Lakeside Stadium.
The question can be asked of Sydney McLaughlin, whose deeds at the world championships in Eugene astounded us all. Her other-worldly world record of 50.68 seconds in the 400 metres hurdles final was the most stunning individual performance of a championships which saw two other world records – Mondo Duplantis’s 6.21 to win the pole vault gold medal and Tobi Amusan’s 12.12 in the 100 hurdles.