By Mike Rowbottom

October 13 - Michael Johnson (pictured) has identified London 2012’s strategy of reducing the size of its Olympic stadium once the Games are over as being the most efficient way of ensuring the best value for money.

"What London has put together in planning to reduce the size of its stadium once the Games are over is the right approach," the United States four-time Olympic champion, who maintains that he is not sentimental about the fact that the track on which he broke the world 200 metres record was ripped up immediately after the 1996 Games and the stadium given over to the local baseball team, told insidethegames during an exclusive interview.

The Olympic Stadium in London is due to be downsized from 80,000 to 25,000 after the 2012 Games under plans that would see the track retained, unlike in Atlanta.

"Although the track is no longer there in Atlanta, the stadium is used by the Atlanta Braves, and it’s better that it be used from the point of view of the taxpayer," Johnson said.

"The track in Sydney where the 2000 Olympics took place still exists, but nothing takes place there. 

"I always would rather see a sport having a regular place in a stadium."

"It would be great to be able to walk around that track in Atlanta with my son and tell him what I did there.

"But I don't think that it's always practical to keep things as they were.

"The last thing you want is to have a white elephant standing there.

"Whenever a Games announcement is made it always acts as great motivator for athletes from the chosen country.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for an Olympic athlete to compete on home soil.

"As an American, I will never forget the feeling I had running in front of a home crowd in Atlanta.

"It is a wonderful memory."


Contact the writer of this story at [email protected].



Related stories

May 2009: Diack full of praise for London Olympic Park

September 2008: ODA chairman insists that Olympic Stadium will retain track after the Games

September 2008: Orient refuse to move to Olympic Stadium if track remains

May 2008: ODA chairman rules out Premier League club at Olympic Stadium

May 2008: Dame Kelly backs track at Olympic Stadium