Expectations around Wayde van Niekerk at the 2020 Olympics should be tempered, says Michael Johnson, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any chance of defending his title in Tokyo.
Van Niekerk, who broke American great Johnson’s 400m world record of 43.18 seconds with a stunning run of 43.03 at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been largely out of action over the last few years following a knee injury picked up during a touch rugby match at Newlands in October 2017.
And Johnson says: “I hope that he can get back, and that he is there [at the Olympic Games later this year].
“The problem is if he is there, you know, it’s probably going to be very difficult for him to be at his best...
“Mentally, it is tough to come back after two years - and to come back in an Olympic year, and so many runners are running really fast.
“But also, everyone’s different, and it takes a different mindset to become world champion, Olympic champion, a world record-holder.”