Disgraced 1988 Olympic 100m champ Ben Johnson ran in his first “competitive” race in about two decades on Tuesday, as he took part in a celebrity 4x100m relay at the Toronto International Track and Field Games. So how did he feel after anchoring his team to victory in two heats?
“Exhausted,” Johnson admitted to the National Post after running only 100 meters. “I’m in good shape, but my cardio is really bad. My breathing, you know? It’s bad. But my running style is OK.”
The Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter said he got the call about two weeks ago, and added that if he had been given more time he would have spent a couple of months training. For a 100-meters race. Against out-of-shape journalists who already weren’t within shouting distance when he crossed the line.
Johnson, 51, the subject of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary *9.79 about the infamous 1988 Olympics 100m final that he won before his medal was stripped for doping, then hung out to take pictures with fans, some of whom weren’t alive when Johnson was on the top of the track world a quarter-century ago.
“I got lots of fans, you know?” Johnson said after hearing his hometown crowd roar as he ran down the track. “It’s just a few people in track and field that don’t like me. I’ve got great fans all over the world.”
That’s probably news to Carl Lewis, who lost to Johnson in the ’88 race before being bumped up to the gold medal when the doping results came in. And I can only assume the always bitter Lewis is hard at work preparing for the ultimate rematch at next year’s celebrity race. God willing.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.