Jeff Benjamin did this interview with Johnny Gray, AR holder at the 800 meters, and also the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist at 800 meters. After his retirement, Johnny coached many fine athletes, among them, Khadevius Robinson and Duane Solomon, who took 4th in 2012 London Olympics and ran a 1:42.82! Jeff sent Johnny Gray his Nine questions and here’s his responses!
A Quick Journey Into The Johnny Gray Twilight Zone!
By Jeff Benjamin
Olympic Bronze Medalist!
American 800 Record Holder Indoor & Outdoors!
Coach of Khadevis Robinson & Diane Solomon!
His 1:48.81 Indoors at the Age of 40 Qualifies as a Masters World Record!
This past spring Johnny Gray left his coaching position at Central Florida University. Looking to do other things, Gray felt it was time to step back. But don’t think for a moment Gray’s passions and desires are any less diminished when it comes to the Sport he loves.
Here’s the interview below –
RunBlogRun, 1) What are your plans for the future?
Johnny Gray: “Well, My plans for the future are to enjoy watching my children raise their children, but, I will probably train a few more world class runners, because I love the sport! I will never go back to the college ranks, because the rules work against the growth of the athlete in my eyes. Right, now I have my own Simi truck and I’m enjoying traveling while getting paid! In fact, I’m making more with this than coaching pays and less stress! “
RunBlogRun, 2) How rewarding was your coaching?
Johnny Gray: “My coaching was very rewarding not financially but to be able to offer someone a free education plus assist them in obtaining a higher level of competing and in some cases helping take them to a world class level is very exciting. But I love it when I get an athlete who’s willing to work hard for what they want and not expect the discipline of what it takes to affect their growth.”
RunBlogRun, 3) These days it looks like there’s a solid group of American 800 meter guys with quality and depth not seen since you led the way in the 1980s and 1990s- any advice for these guys?
Johnny Gray: “As for the American 800m runners today, my advice to them is continue to work for what you want, it will not come easy the next time around! So, what I’m saying is once you’ve done it, it gets tougher!”
RunBlogRun, 4) Your Racing career was so consistent, with great performances year in and year out both indoors and outdoors- what kind of training were you doing that led to your success?
Johnny Gray: “I was doing the great Igloi training. It was hard, but when you stick to anything it gets easier because the consistency gives you your confidence that’s needed in the end.”
RunBlogRun, 5) Your most memorable performance?
Johnny Gray: “My most memorable performance??? Well that’s rough because I have a few! The 84′ trials where I ran 1:43.79 to break the American record, when before this my PR was 1:45.06, so I skipped the 1:44’s! Also my 1992 Olympic trials run in New Orleans where I ran the fastest time ever run on US soil at that time running 1:42.80. My 1985 AR run of 1:42.60, as well as my 1996 Zurich race of 1:42.65.. indoor the only memorable race is my 1:45.0 race because I just missed the world record of Seb Coe’s 1:44.99! “
RunBlogRun, 6) Who was the toughest competitor you ever faced?
Johnny Gray: “My toughest competitor was David Mack!”
RunBlogRun, 7) Did you incorporate any kind of cross training/ weight training?
Johnny Gray: “My training was just running, no weights, nothing but running. Lot of miles!”
RunBlogRun, 8) With more free time How’s about Johnny Gray returning to competition as a masters competitor and bringing back the “Johnny Gray Twilight Zone?”
Johnny Gray: “As for masters running I would, but I was 41 when I retired so I pretty much ran as a masters runner. “
RunBlogRun, 9) What kind of advice can you give to young runners?
Johnny Gray: “Well as for advice, I would just say work hard, be patient and stick to what works and quick thinking there’s a secret to running fast. The only secret to success is getting started! Anything other than that you are looking for a way to get away with cheating!”