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How Stroke shattered Michael Johnson after Olympic wins

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Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson. Photo/FanBuzz

Michael Johnson track prowess will always remain etched in the hearts of Americans even through his retirement as a star athlete.

He is among the most successful sprinters in the world who fate decided to test their zeal in a lie with a strong bout of stroke.

To paint a picture of how great he is, Johnson won four gold medals in the Olympics and has another eight gold medals from World Championships.

In his entire sprinting career, Johnson dominated in 200 m and 400 m races. He has a world record in 400 m and is also the world’s best 300 m racer.

In contrast to common understanding, Johnson’s unusual stiff upright running position and extremely small stride rejected the prevailing wisdom that a high knee lift was required for maximum speed.

But, he is a man who is tried and tested but never gives up in life.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson. Photo/The Source Magazine

What Happened to Michael Johnson?

In 2018, Johnson suffered a bout of stroke in August 2018. Following his daily practice in his home gym Johnson claimed to have experienced strange physical sensations such as involuntary movement of his left foot and “a type of tingling sensation” in his left arm.

“I hobbled over to my weights bench and thought, am I having a cramp or something? I called my wife Armine over and said: ‘Hey, something feels weird. Something doesn’t feel right,” he tells The Guardian.

Michael Johnson Battle With Stroke

At 50 then, he was taken aback that the stroke hit him hard despite his active physical routine.

“It seems these things can affect anyone, even the once fastest man in the world!” he tweeted.

He realized that he was not alone in his feelings of disorientation. Stroke sufferers sometimes have no idea that they are going through something that could leave them permanently crippled or dead.

He continues, in a thick drawl reminiscent of his Texan upbringing saying it was after a few days that he realized he was having a stroke. Johnson says there was no moment he experienced any kind of jolt to indicate he was having a stroke.

Johnson decided to go to the hospital after pondering his options for half an hour. At UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, about 20 minutes away from his Malibu home, Armine took him to the emergency room.

It was the right decision. The ER doctor’s stroke diagnosis was confirmed by a CT scan and an MRI.

While he could get out of bed and onto the MRI table on his own, he was unable to walk after the procedure was over 30 minutes later.

He could stand on his left leg and put weight on it. He couldn’t feel his left arm and his entire left arm and foot were completely numb.

Doctors said Johnson suffered a thalamic or lacunar stroke. This is a type of stroke that occurs in the thalamus on the right side of the brain. His newfound helplessness drove him to ask himself, “What am I going to do with my life now?”

What about getting dressed on his own? Would he take care of himself without needing someone else’s help? How long would it take for him to recover?

Who is Faster Usain Bolt or Michael Johnson?

Both Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt are legendary sprinters. While the former held the 200 m world record for 12 years, Bolt smashed the record at the 2008 Olympics by just.02 seconds. It was just 11 seconds to 19.19 seconds at the 2009 World Championships.

During the 1990s, Johnson held the world records for the 200 and 400 meter dashes, respectively. After winning both distances with custom-made golden spikes in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, he was dubbed “the poster boy of the Games.”

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson. Photo/ Sky Sports

Does Michael Johnson Still Hold a World Record?

With six individual gold medals and two relay gold medals to his credit during his illustrious World Championship career, he was the reigning world champion in the 200 and 400 meters at the time of his retirement.

In addition, he was a co-holder of the world record in the 4×400 meter relay, which was established by the United States team at the 1998 Goodwill Games in a time of 2:54.20 seconds.

Besides winning gold medals in the Olympics, Johnson has collected eight gold medals at the World Championships, tying him with Carl Lewis for the fourth-most gold medals ever won by an individual runner.

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