July 29, 1996: American sprinter Michael Johnson sets an Olympic record of 43.49 seconds in the 400 meters.

Unveiling a brand new pair of golden spikes just before the 400 finals in Atlanta, Johnson put some gaudy expectations on himself to perform on the world's biggest stage.

Fortunately for the 28-year-old sprinter, the substance far surpassed the hype.

Johnson started in Lane 4 because of his top qualifying mark in the semifinals. His dominance wasn't initially obvious due to the staggering of the track lanes, but by the final curve, it was clear to all that the question to answer was not who would win, but rather by how much.

"The Man With the Golden Shoes" proceeded to finish a historical race, finishing in a still-standing Olympic record time of 43.49 seconds to win the race by nearly a full second. Three days later, Johnson set a world record in the 200 meters, becoming only man in Olympic history to win both the 200 and 400 at the same Games.

Johnson's historic week was the centerpiece of a dominant American track team. The mens' national team combined to win gold medals in 10 of the Games' 24 track and field events, carrying the country to a world-leading 44 gold medals in the Olympics as a whole.

Although Johnson's 1996 race was just off the existing world record by Butch Reynolds, he soon surpassed that as well, running a blistering 43.18 seconds as a 31-year-old in 1999 to set a still-standing record in the 400m race. Johnson held the 200 meter and 400 meter world records simultaneously for nearly nine years, until Jamaica's Usain Bolt broke the former during the 2008 Olympics.

Johnson finished his career with five Olympic gold medals (although one was eventually stripped due to the doping of 4x400 relay teammate Antonio Pettigrew). Johnson, now 47, was inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004, and now works as a commentator for BBC.

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