His so-called golden feat came only because of his golden feet. Sprinter Michael Johnson was lauded for his two disparate races, the 200 meter and the 400 meter, each requiring opposing skills. The shorter race is aggressive, the longer more calculating. But no matter – he would become the first runner in Olympic history to clinch gold in both events. TIME’s cover story described his 200-meter sprint from the man with the golden Nikes:
“He momentarily stumbled, then shifted into a gear previously known only to Mercury. The fireflies followed him as he came slinging out of the turn, obliterating the stagger and defying the laws of physics.”
His 19.32-second run, which broke his own previous world record, was named the greatest track-and-field moment of the past 25 years upon his induction into the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Next Atlanta, 1996: Gymnast Kerri Strug & Bombing Victim Alice Hawthorne