Four-time Olympic Gold medal winning sprinter Michael Johnson will be a special guest at the first ever PTO Triathlon US Open, which takes place in his hometown of Dallas this week.
Johnson will be involved in the build-up and commentary of the men and women’s professional races, including Friday’s press conference.
‘The ultimate endurance athletes’
“I’m excited about getting involved in the new PTO Tour’s first race here in the US and I’m delighted they’ve chosen Dallas,” Johnson said. “I’ve always been fascinated by the limits of human performance, whatever the distances involved, and triathlon does intrigue me.”
Johnson’s first medal came at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, winning the 4x400m relay with his US teammates. He went on to win the 200m and 400m individual events at Atlanta ‘96, before defending his 400m title at Sydney in 2000.
“I remember when it [triathlon] entered the Olympic arena at Sydney 2000,” Johnson said. “It certainly wasn’t the sport for me. I could never go for that long, but I remember thinking that these guys must be the ultimate endurance athletes – to not just take on one discipline, but combine three to such a high level and over significant distances.”
Johnson said he was fascinated by the Professional Triathletes Organisation’s (PTO) athlete-owned model.
“I really like how the PTO is setting itself up, as an athlete-owned body, committed to promoting the longer distances of the sport and in a different way,” Johnson explained.
“The superhuman efforts of these triathletes haven’t always enjoyed the spotlight they deserve, so the PTO was set up by the athletes to change that, make the sport more professional and try to take it to the next level in terms of story-telling, prize money and global broadcast.”