On this day in 1996, Michael Johnson kicked off the month of August by breaking the 200 meter world record with a time of 19.32 seconds, winning the gold medal of the Atlanta Summer Olympics in the process.
Although Johnson's record has since been surpassed by Usain Bolt in 2008, there are a few marks set by the retired sprinter that still haven't been matched. Days before winning the gold, on July 29, 1996, Johnson also set a record in the 400 meter race with 43.49 seconds. Nearly two decades later, Johnson's 400 meter time stands as the best in Olympic history.
And it doesn't stop there: by winning the 200 and 400 meter events in '96, he became the only athlete to ever win both at the same Olympics. Not only that, but he's the only male runner to successfully repeat in an Olympic 400m win. Between the Olympic Games and World Championships, Johnson has a total of 12 gold medals, and aside from two disqualifications, he's never placed lower than gold in a major event.
Fittingly, even Johnson's track spikes were emblazoned with gold. Donning a pair of gold Nike track spikes during the Olympics, Johnson's blazing speed and memorable sneakers caught the attention of, well, everyone. Nike used his 200 meter record to their advantage, marketing Johnson as "the world's fastest man." To make matters even more interesting, the golden track spikes weighed in at just 3.5 ounces, designed to be truly minimal and hold their shape just long enough for Johnson to complete his races.