The news that NFL speedsters Chris Johnson and Devin Hester raced a cheetah in a made-for-TV event is certainly intriguing, but track and field has seen several similar scenarios.
Let’s start with perhaps the most famous sprinter vs. animal showdown of all: Jesse Owens raced horses multiple times after his quadruple gold performance at the 1936 Olympics.
Oscar Pistorius joined Owens in beating a horse in a race in Doha late last year.
Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic champion in the 200 meters, took on a giraffe and a zebra on the Fox show “Man vs. Beast.”
British world indoor 400-meter champion Jamie Baulch also raced a horse. This video appears to be well after Baulch’s career ended. He got creamed.
Disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who won the 1988 Olympic 100 meters but was stripped due to doping, went up against two horses and a race car in 1998.
In a commercial, Michael Johnson lined up against NFL cornerback Jason Sehorn, a horse named “Lightening Bolt” and NASCAR driver John Andretti.
There’s also South African rugby star Bryan Habana, who raced a cheetah in 2007.
One more note on Johnson vs. Hester vs. Cheetah. Three-time Olympic swimming champion Brooke Bennett served as the sideline reporter.