August 1, 1996 – One's an endurance test, the other's a drag race. That pretty much sums up why no Olympian in history has ever won the 400 meters and the 200 meters in the same Games…until Michael Johnson shocked the world in 1996. When Johnson won the 400 in Atlanta, he set an Olympic record of 43.9 seconds. Pretty remarkable. But what he then did in the 200 was positively mind-blowing.
Johnson left the field in his dust and set a new world record of 19.32 seconds, three-tenths of a second faster than the previous best time ever, also run by Johnson. Three-tenths of a second may not sound like much, but in the 200 meters it's huge. His opponents were so amazed that Ato Boldon, the bronze medalist from Trinidad and Tobago, felt a mere handshake couldn't communicate his awe at what Johnson had done, so Boldon bowed respectfully to Johnson on the podium instead.