Michael Johnson said “hard work, focus and commitment” enabled him to get back on his feet after suffering a stroke.
Legendary sprinter Michael Johnson says an “Olympic mindset” has enabled him to get “pretty much back to normal” just three months after suffering a stroke.
The four-time Olympic champion went to hospital immediately after feeling a “strange tingling” down his arm and left side following a training session in September.
Johnson was unable to walk but vowed to make a rapid recovery after taking 15 minutes to cover 200 metres – the distance over which won Olympic gold in 1996 and claimed two world titles – in hospital.
“I was achieving tiny incremental improvements and it gave me hope,” the 51-year-old told the BBC.
“I told my wife I was confident of making a full recovery and not only will I do that, I will do it faster than anybody else has done before.
“I knew then the recovery was going to be down to hard work, focus and commitment to the process. That is something I am very familiar with.
“Almost three months on now from the stroke and I am pretty much back to normal and back to work.
“I am feeling good and I was really lucky. It has been quite an experience.”
— Michael Johnson (@MJGold) September 13, 2018
“Doctors said the best chance of recovery was to immediately get into physical therapy. I did that two days after the stroke and I got out of bed with assistance and got behind the walker around the hospital – and ironically it was around 200m. I timed it and it took me around 15 minutes to cover that distance.
“Ordinarily that would be very disconcerting and I would have no hope – having been the fastest person in the world at that distance – but I was very encouraged. With every step I took, I could feel myself relearning.
“For the next few weeks I went back into an Olympic mindset and focusing on having the best training session I can today and using it to be better and get better.
“I could regain co-ordination and balance which I had lost. I did not lose any strength. Then I was getting back to walking properly, then more dynamic exercises and then into running.”