Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson ‘bringing the gold shoes back,’ shoots Nike commercial

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Michael Johnson‘s gold shoes will return in a Nike commercial, according to the Olympic sprint champion’s Twitter account.

Johnson memorably swept the 200m and 400m at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics while wearing golden shoes, after he wore purple shoes at the Olympic trials.

“I just wanted to change it up, and I thought gold would be a good color,” Johnson said in 1996, according to the New York Daily News.

“Opting for gold shoes could have been considered downright cocky, but I was confident and never doubted my ability to deliver gold medals to match my shimmering footwear,” Johnson said in his book, “Gold Rush,” according to the Telegraph.

source: Getty Images

At Sydney 2000, Johnson had new gold shoes, these ones with actual 24-carat gold woven in. He repeated as 400m champion and anchored the 4x400m relay team to cross the finish line first, but team member Antonio Pettigrew later admitted to doping.

source: Getty Images

Johnson said he auctioned at least some of his Olympic competition gold shoes for charities, in a 2009 ESPN.com chat and to the Melbourne Herald Sun at the 2000 Olympics.

Here’s a previous Johnson Nike commercial, with white shoes.

Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
United World Wrestling
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.