Tobi Amusan of Nigeria put on the performance of a lifetime by setting a world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles on Sunday at the world track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon, reports the New York Times.
Clocking at a time of 12.12 seconds on the stadium scoreboard, even Amusan was amazed by her own record-setting time.
The runners who came in fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth place in Amusan’s heat ran their best times ever as well. The other three runners also ran their best times of the year.
Amusan’s time of 12.12 broke the old record of 12.20 held by the American Kendra Harrison since 2016, by 0.08 of a second. The last time the record was lowered by such a wide margin was in 1980. Amusan’s previous best time of 12.40 was set in the qualifying race on Saturday.
Not everyone who witnessed the record-breaking race believed the results were legitimate including former American sprinter Michael Johnson. Working as a television commentator for the BBC, Johnson, who won four Olympic gold medals and eight gold medals at the World Championships took to Twitter to cast doubts on the results of the race.
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct,” his tweet read. “World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR “I throughly I was running slow!” All athletes looked shocked.”
“Heat 2 we were first shown a winning time of 12.53. A few seconds later it shows 12.43,” he continued. “Rounding down by .01 is normal. .10 is not.”
After Johnson’s accusations that questioned Amusan’s time, he was accused of having a bias against Amusan who was the first Nigerian to medal in any event at the world championships. Following a few exchanges on Twitter, Johnson bowed out.
“As a commentator, my job is to comment,” he argued. “In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on.”