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Michael Lawrence Marsh – (August 4, 1967 in Los Angeles, California) American athlete specializing in speed events who was Olympic champion of the 200 meters at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
He began to do athletics in his high school years at Hawthorne High School, and continued at the University of California (UCLA), where he graduated in 1989. At this time he did not get any national university degree. In 1988 he was 6th in the 100m of his country’s qualifying events for the Seoul Olympic Games.
In 1991 he was part of the 4x100m relay team that broke the world record on August 7 at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich with 37.67 The quartet was composed by Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and Carl Lewis Only four days earlier this same team had matched the world record (held by France) in Monte Carlo with 37.79
A few weeks later Marsh participated in his first major international competition, the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, precisely as part of the relay team 4x100m, although he only ran in the qualifying rounds and not in the final, where he was replaced by Andre Cason The United States won the gold medal and set another world record with 37.50
1992 would be the most important year of his sports career. On April 18 he managed in Walnut, California, to go down for the first time of the 10 seconds in the 100 meters, with 9.93 that would be the best mark of his life and the best of the world ranking of the year.
However, in the qualifying events for the Olympic Games in Barcelona held in New Orleans in May, he did not achieve the 100m classification, since he was only 4th and only the first three were classified. Yes he got it instead in the 200 m, where he was 2nd after Michael Johnson.
Johnson was the big favorite to win gold at the Barcelona Games, but a food poisoning caused him to be eliminated in the semifinals. Precisely in the semifinals, Marsh surprised everyone by making a sensational mark of 19.73, which was the second best record of all time to only one hundredth of the world record of Italian Pietro Mennea.
There were many expectations that in the final that was to be played the next day, Marsh could finally beat that world record, since it seemed that in the semifinal had not been used to the fullest, letting go in the last meters. The record could not be, but Marsh won the gold medal with 20.01 ahead of the Namibian Frank Fredericks (20.13) and the American Michael Bates (20.38).
Marsh won a second Olympic gold medal in the relay race 4x100m, where he made the first post and the United States broke the world record with 37.40 The other members of the quartet were Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and Carl Lewis. This record is still valid.
In 1993 he was proclaimed United States champion in the 200m, which would be his only national title in this event. However, he disappointed in the Stuttgart World Championships that year, by missing the podium in the 200 m in 4th position.
He spent the 1994 season practically blank due to injuries. In 1995 he returned with force proclaiming himself champion of the United States in the 100 m. However disappointed again in the World Championships in Gothenburg where he was only 5th with 10.10 In addition, the relay team 4×100 m he was part of was disqualified in the series due to a poor delivery of the witness.
In 1996 he achieved his classification for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in both 100 and 200 meters. Precisely in the qualifying tests for the Games made a mark of 19.88 in the 200 m, the second best of his sporting life.
Already in the Games, in the 100 m he qualified for the final and finished 5th as in the world championships of the previous year, with 10.10 He was also in the final of the 200 m trying to defend his Olympic title of Barcelona ’92 but finished 8th and last in a race in which his compatriot Michael Johnson broke the world record with an incredible 19.32
Finally, he participated in the relay race 4×100 m, where his country was the clear favorite. However they were surprised by the powerful Canadian team, and the Americans had to settle for silver. The team was formed by this order Jon Drummond, Tim Harden, Mike Marsh and Dennis Mitchell.
His last big competition was the 1997 Athens World Championships, where he was 8th in the 100m final
He retired from athletics at the end of that season.
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