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.

So, what’s the deal with the 800 metres? No, not channelling Seinfeld, just wondering about the current state of Australian 800-meter running. To some extent, a large extent, it’s the same deal as always. Gun goes BANG! Runners go FAST! Winner is the one who slows up the least* as everyone...
  Thirty-six years after Dave Smith and Tim Erickson should have been Olympic teammates, their sons Dane Bird-Smith and Chris Erickson will be. Bird-Smith and Chris Erickson have long since joined their fathers in representing their country in international competition, but Rio 2016 will mark their first appearance as Olympic teammates. Bird-Smith,...
A few years ago, a friend invited me to address a primary school book club about The Landy Era. The audience was year six students – so, 12 years old for the most part – and their parents. I’d noticed some sport publications on the library display shelf, including one...
When you can win by losing | A Column By Len Johnson The descriptors applied to selection trials overwhelmingly emphasise the drama. Cut-throat, sudden-death, fourth is the worst possible place – insert your cliché of choice. Seldom is it mentioned that trials, along with heats and qualifying rounds, are one of...
Canberra delivers fast footwork | A Column By Len Johnson A little bit of fancy footwork is always handy in Canberra, the nation’s political capital, where agility and nimbleness were highly prized long before the current incumbent moved into the prime ministerial office. If the politicians weren’t admiring of the performances...
Bring back the mile – has it ever gone away? A Column By Len Johnson In outlining his vision to make athletics more appealing to a younger audience, Sebastian Coe recently observed: “The average age of those watching track and field is 55 years old. This is not sustainable.” How does...
Thanks Coach | A Column By Len Johnson There’s probably almost as many different athlete-coach relationships in athletics as there are athletes and coaches. Some athletes have a coach from the time they start out in the sport as a junior. Usually, that’s a club coach. Others never have one, though...
Ryan Hall: best actor in a supporting role | A Column By Len Johnson Ryan Hall never quite achieved the stardom for which he seemed destined, but if the best actor Oscar somehow eluded him, the American marathoner certainly has a sound claim to a gong as best actor in...
WADA gets what it wants | A Column By Len Johnson “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets” went a song from the 1950s musical Damn Yankees and, judging by the outcome this week at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, WADA is the new Lola. A CAS panel upheld an appeal by the...
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...
                         
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