Mail track

Australian runway glamor girl Michelle Jenneke breaks her silence on high-tech shoe controversy

Australian track glamor girl Michelle Jenneke is breaking her silence over the high-tech shoe controversy that saw athletics legend Michael Johnson accused of ‘black racism’

  • Jenneke and many hurdlers have set personal bests at the World Championships
  • The winner of the 100m hurdles broke the world record with high-tech shoes
  • A series of very fast times led Michael Johnson to question their legitimacy
  • The Olympics legend was branded a ‘black racist’ and suffered a sledge stroke

Hurdler Michelle Jenneke had her say in the biggest controversy at the recent World Championships in Athletics, where questions about the legitimacy of her rival’s victory were raised over her high-tech footwear.

The Australian was stunned when she set a personal best in the 100m hurdles in Oregon last month, and the athletics world was even more shocked when Nigerian Tobi Amusan broke the world record in wearing Adidas Adizero Avanti shoes, designed for use by long-distance runners.

Although not illegal to use, the shoes have come under scrutiny as they are designed to give runners a boost through the use of extremely bouncy foam, several other hurdlers wearing them.

Amusan broke the record and 12 of the 24 athletes in the 100m hurdles semi-finals at the championships set personal bests, leading legendary 200m runner-turned-commentator Michael Johnson to say the times were incorrect.

Jenneke – seen here performing her famous pre-race dance at last month’s World Championships in Athletics – weighed in on the event’s biggest controversy

The Aussie resurrected her career with a personal best in Oregon - and 11 of her rivals in the 100m hurdles also broke their best times, setting off alarm bells for some.

The Aussie resurrected her career with a personal best in Oregon – and 11 of her rivals in the 100m hurdles also broke their best times, setting off alarm bells for some.

He has been accused of being a ‘black racist’ and even suffered a stroke in 2018.

Jenneke said she believed the fury was a beating as she prepared to compete in the Commonwealth Games on Friday night.

“I ran quite a PB (personal best) in that race and ran in the same shoes I’ve been running in for five years,” she said.

“I know I can’t attribute my PB to shoes because it’s the same shoe, same shoe model.

The winner of the event, Nigerian Tobi Amusan (pictured hugging Jenneke) broke the world record wearing Adidas Adizero Avanti shoes, which are designed for distance runners and have come under scrutiny for giving competitors an unfair advantage.

The winner of the event, Nigerian Tobi Amusan (pictured hugging Jenneke) broke the world record wearing Adidas Adizero Avanti shoes, which are designed for distance runners and have come under scrutiny for giving competitors an unfair advantage.

Track legend turned commentator Michael Johnson (pictured) has been branded a 'black racist' for questioning whether the event times were legit

Track legend turned commentator Michael Johnson (pictured) has been branded a ‘black racist’ for questioning whether the event times were legit

‘I’ve tried some of the newer spikes they have, the technology is amazing, and I’m sure people are faster, but at the same time if you go back 10, 20 years, look at the shoes that the people wore, they were completely different from what we wore five years ago.

“I don’t think we’re seeing anything that’s causing so much change that we have to question it.”

Jenneke added that she was confident the athletics governing body was checking the shoes and staying on top of the situation.

Her time of 12.66 at the World Championships came after she was out for three years with serious back and ankle injuries that could have ended her career.

After becoming world famous thanks to her “jiggling Jenneke” pre-race dance at the 2012 World Junior Championships that went viral, she said representing her country once again in Oregon was “honestly pretty amazing”.

Her return to form gave her an outside chance to win a medal in Birmingham, where she said she would throw the famous dance again.