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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 column by Len Johnson Few runners kept up with Emil Zatopek during his brilliant career. Even fewer got past the Czechoslovakian champion. And of those who did, hardly any stayed ahead of ‘Zato’ all the way to the line. If it was hard enough catching up with Zatopek through his...
We need to talk about drugs: A Column By Len Johnson We need to talk about drugs, performance-enhancing drugs. Sorry if you think there has already been enough discussion on the matter, but we need to talk some more. Everyone from Lord Coe to Vladimir Putin – and that encompasses a...
Justice Delayed Finally Becomes Justice Delivered Written By Len Johnson Justice delayed is justice denied is an old legal maxim, but Jared Tallent belatedly received his Olympic gold medal at a ceremony in Melbourne on Friday. After a couple of sunny early winter’s days, Melbourne was beset with persistent drizzle for the...
A Column By Len Johnson In announcing her retirement this week, Alana Boyd got the timing just right. Timing is everything in Boyd’s event, the pole vault. It is no good having the height before the crossbar, no good having it after. For a clearance, you must have the height at...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Ladies and Gentleman, we present for your entertainment a battle for one of the heavyweight titles of athletics – the world cross-country championships. In the red corner, the defending champion, a course over 10 kilometers, multiple laps over a flat (and maybe a...
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...
The day I beat Yifter A Column By Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe The time I beat Miruts Yifter I wasn’t foolish enough to let it come down to a kick. I passed him mid-race. He was walking, which detracts, but only a little, from the fact that I can boast an...
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...
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...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Eight years ago the world seemed to be at Dani Stevens (then Dani Samuels) feet. On a rainy night in Berlin, she handled the difficult conditions far better than her more experienced rivals to become, at 21, the youngest winner...