Michael Johnson: 'I fear for the future of athletics'

Michael Johnson: 'I fear for athletics'
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Former track and field star Michael Johnson reveals that he 'fears for the future athletics'.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson has revealed that he fears for the future of athletics.

The 46-year-old, who won 200m and 400m titles at Atlanta in 1996, believes that changes need to be made to the structure and marketing of track and field if it is to survive.

"There is certainly a real issue with athletics as a sport and there has been for some time now," Johnson said at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester.

"It is fortunate and unfortunate that athletics is still the premier sport of the Olympics, because I think that tends to allow the powers that be to sit back and be a little bit more relaxed than they probably should. I am not sure athletics would still be around if it didn't have that status as a premier Olympic sport. We are not drawing in new fans, whereas in soccer, in comparison, there is a tremendous amount of new fans in the US.

"Athletics is not doing anything to draw in new fans because there hasn't been any changes. I am not sure where it's going and I am not sure quite what will happen. Unless there is significant change in the structure of the sport it will be difficult, but the sport is three, if not four sports, wrapped into one and that makes it difficult."

Johnson was appearing at the Soccerex Global Convention in his capacity as founder of Michael Johnson Performance organisation.

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