Chad Johnson was fast. His daughter Cha’iel might be even faster.
The former NFL receiver once raced a thoroughbred … and won. His daughter has yet to discover latent talents across such short distances, but she has excelled in middle distances, including the 800 meters, where her 2:16.35 mark is the fastest in the country across that span.
Per a report from Flotrack, the younger Johnson is expected to compete in both the 800 and 1,500 at the AAU Club Championships for her Miami Gardens Xpress Track Club squad. After capturing a 400-meter AAU title in 2015 and an 800-meter crown in 2016, Johnson’s coach is convinced his pupil is ready to own both the 800 and 1,500 this time around.
“She has the potential to break a record every time she steps on the track,” Darius Lawshea, Johnson’s longtime coach, told Flotrack. “We train to front run and we’re always chasing the clock. We’re going to go at it from the gun.”
Lawshea is quick to credit her father with Johnson’s competitive zeal, and he has noted that her competitiveness has driven him to include her training sessions with 12-year-old boys on his own elite team.
That’s not as a publicity stunt, either; it’s because she’s earned it.
“This is how she trains,” Lawshea says, “She’s like no other. The boys don’t even like her to practice with them, she’ll out work them. …
“She has the heart. She trains like she knows she wants to be the best. Chad gave her something great as far as instinct. But she takes training like a grown person. And when it’s all over, she knows how to be a kid, too.”
We’ll see how that instinct kicks at the AAU championships at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports. In the meantime, Johnson will continue making a name for herself in training, or at least own the name her father gave her.