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OLYMPIC GAMES: Take it slow is Johnson’s tip
9:00am Sunday 29th July 2012 in Sport
FOUR-TIME Olympic champion Michael Johnson believes Danny Talbot can experience the joy of seeing the Union Jack raised for him at London 2012 – but only if the relay squad hoist the white flag pre race.
The British men’s sprint relay team are becoming synonymous with high-profile blunders on the big occasion.
At four of the last five major championships the men’s team have failed to get the baton round the one lap of the track.
Johnson feels the continued problems with the baton change stem from the fact that in terms of pure speed the British quartet can no longer compete with the world’s best.
At 10.05 seconds Adam Gemili has clocked GB’s fastest 100m time this season, good enough for 29th in the world.
To make up for what GB lack in outright pace, the British quartet appear to be pushing right to the limit on their handovers, which in Johnson’s view is the wrong way to go.
This team is not very strong. It’s one of the weaker 4x100m relay teams that the British have put together in the past few years,” said Johnson, who carried the Olympic flame in Wiltshire recently.
“Guys like Dwain Chambers and Christian Malcolm have been around for a long time. Even if they give their best performances, it’s still going to be really tough for them.
“You look at how long those guys have been around and then you look at these teams that are favourites for the medals – all of the athletes are a lot younger and faster.
“If it were me, I would just take it round by round, try to get up to the final, try to gain some consistency and run as fast as I can with good, clean handoffs.
“They feel the 4x100m is always an opportunity for a medal but they know they can’t match the Jamaicans, the Americans, and the Trinidadians for speed.
“They’ve got to really go aggressive on the handoff, and when you have to do that it dramatically increases the risk of dropping it.
“The idea of trying to outperform the teams that are faster and younger is a mistake, that’s probably what has caused them to drop it in the past. It’s going to be tough for the British to get a medal but they should certainly be in the final, where anything can happen. Somebody’s going to drop it.”
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