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US legend Johnson launches new athletics league

Michael Johnson celebrates with an American flag
Michael Johnson won four Olympic gold medals during his career [Getty Images]

American track legend Michael Johnson has launched a lucrative new athletics league.

Grand Slam Track will aim to bring together the world's elite runners, offering $100,000 (£78,683) as a top prize.

Starting in April 2025, the new format will be have a prize fund of $12.6 million (£9.9m) split over four events.

Grand Slam Track will feature four meetings each year, with two hosted in the United States.

Athletes will compete in two events each and 48 will be contracted to the league.

"We're revolutionizing the track landscape," said four-time Olympic champion Johnson, who is now a BBC athletics pundit.

American Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world 400m hurdles champion, has been announced as the first athlete to join the league.

"I firmly believe that this is the step forward that track needs to take it to another level," she said.

Finances in athletics has become a talking point in recent months, with World Athletics announcing in April it would pay prize money to Olympic athletes.

Earlier this month, the governing body announced a new global championship to start in 2026 with gold medallists receiving $150,000 (£118,000).

World Athletics said its championship would have $10m (£7.87m) available in prize money.

The Diamond League currently offers a $30,000 (£23,610) prize for those athletes winning an event across its 15 meetings.

"They deserve to be compensated," added Johnson, 56. "The structure of the sport in the past has not compensated those athletes to take that risk to go and compete against the best athletes in the sport."