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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.

A Federation of Her Own | A Column By Len Johnson The 1992 film, A League of Their Own, tells a fictionalised account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, formed during World War II when the men’s major leagues were facing temporary closure. A League of Their Own? Decima...
Pearson string snapped. Tallent and Samuels roll on | By Len Johnson The fall that wrecked Sally Pearson’s 2015 world championships campaign also snapped an eight-year string in the annual top-10 rankings of Track & Field News magazine. Flattered by many imitators, T&FN’s annual rankings remain the most authoritative measurement of...
Ticking over into olympic year | A Column By Len Johnson New Year’s Eve signals the end of one year and, if you’ve got the stamina, the arrival of the next. For athletics fans, though, there’s something special about New Year’s Eve in a pre-Olympic year. The year 2016 will not...
Rio 2016, have you met Melbourne 1956? A Column By Len Johnson “Your projects have been changed several times. Your sites, even including the main stadium, have been changed several times . . . you are contemplating changing the rowing to a site I have never heard of. “There seems to...
A Column By Len Johnson When David McNeill ran 27:45.01 in the Payton Jordan meeting in Stanford this May, his performance had a certain Dickensian element. To cite the opening line from A Tale of Two Cities , it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The...
Busier than santa's elves | A Column By Len Johnson Ron Clarke won three successive Zatopek 10,000s at the start of the 1960s, setting his first world records in 1963. Clarke likewise won the last two Zatopeks as the decade concluded. Which prompts the question – what happened in the years...
The long and winding road the leads to . . . nowhere A Column By Len Johnson Monday, 23 November, was Labour and Thanksgiving Day in Japan. The annual public holiday for commemorating labour and production and giving thanks was also the day on which the Chiba International Ekiden Relay would...
Ask a runner to run a heat and they’ll run a (graded) mile. That’s the conclusion to be drawn, anyway, from two Victorian meetings in the past two weeks. First, the Victorian Milers Club staged its opening meeting of the season on 10 November. Almost 250 ran, no fewer than 151...
A Column by Len Johnson Last time Sebastian Coe was in this much trouble over something that happened in Russia was when he lost the Moscow 1980 Olympic 800 metres final to Steve Ovett. Coe was the world record holder, two seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Yet he...
A Column By Len Johnson The one flaw in Ron Clarke’s career was the lack of a championship gold medal. Long before his passing earlier this year, however, it was pretty well universally acknowledged that the manner in which he re-imagined and re-shaped track distance running more than made up...