Sunderland university doctorate for Michael Johnson

Five-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sunderland.

The American sprinter was awarded the degree for his "outstanding contribution and ambassadorial role" in athletics.

It was presented to him alongside thousands of graduate students at the Stadium of Light on Monday.

Mr Johnson, who retired from athletics in 2001, said he was "deeply honoured".

He said: "It was a great honour for me to be awarded the doctorate. It's the first one I haven't worked for.

"This has been my first time in Sunderland, but I have enjoyed every minute."

Television broadcaster

During his career he broke records in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay.

He was world champion nine times and became the fastest man in the world in 1996.

Since his retirement, Mr Johnson has become an award-wining television broadcaster for the BBC.

The doctorate was presented to him by university chancellor and fellow former athlete Steve Cram, who described him as one of the world's finest athletes.

Among those who also received awards were former Sunderland MP Chris Mullin, Nissan vice president Trevor Mann and veteran radio broadcaster Ron Coles.

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