By Gary Anderson

Michael Johnson joined Mehman Karimov of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan (far left); Baku 2015 chief operating officer, Simon Clegg (second from right) and Seve Kyriacou, head of international Olympic and Paralympic Programmes at BP in Baku today ©Baku 2015American sprint legend Michael Johnson has been checking out ongoing preparations for next year's European Games during a visit to host city Baku.

The four-time Olympic champion and current 400 metre world record holder visited the Baku 2015 headquarters where he met staff and took part in Olympic Day celebrations on Baku Boulevard.

"It was a privilege and an honour to welcome one of the world's greatest Olympians to our Baku 2015 headquarters, and show him how our preparations for the first-ever European Games are progressing," saidBaku 2015 chief operating officer Simon Clegg.

"Michael's knowledge of the Games world is unrivalled, so it was an excellent opportunity for him to share his expertise with our staff here, and pass on his advice to future aspiring Azerbaijani athletes at the Olympic Day celebrations."

Johnson, an ambassador for BP - official partner of Baku 2015 - observed the continuing preparations for the inaugural European Games which are due to take place from June 12 to 28 next year.

Michael Johnson spoke to aspiring young Azerbaijani athletes during his visit to Baku  ©Baku 2015Michael Johnson spoke to aspiring young Azerbaijani athletes during his visit to Baku
©Baku 2015

He was joined by Mehman Karimov from the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan and head of international Olympic and Paralympic Programmes at BPSeve Kyriacou.

The 46-year-old was given a tour of the newly-built Baku 2015 Athletes Village, which will host over 9,000 athletes and officials as well as checking in on the ongoing construction of the National Stadium which will form the centrepiece of the Games.

"It has been a pleasure to be in Baku this week and witness the growing enthusiasm for sport in Azerbaijan," said Johnson, who secured a 200m and 400m double at Atlanta 1996.

"I understand how much of an inspiration a home Games can be, and the first European Games is a fantastic opportunity for the athletes of this country to make history and achieve success."

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