“He was definitely a pioneer — first American to win an Olympic downhill gold medal. For Americans, definitely a legend in the sport.” -Lindsey Vonn
Legendary American ski racer Bill Johnson passed away at 55. He had been in poor health for some time before his passing after a series of strokes. He will be remembered as the brazen American ski racer that not only won the first Olympic downhill gold medal for USA but predicted publicly he would do so.
Bill’s ski career started as a teenager after a judge gave him two options after being found guilty of stealing a car. Either go to a full-time ski academy or 6 months in jail. He choose the hill over the clink and enrolled at Mission Ridge Ski Academy in Washington.
After his victories in Sarajevo he suffered a series of back and knee injuries that effectively ended his professional ski career. He did try mount a comeback in 2001 at age 40 after a string of bad left him bankrupt, divorced and living in a RV. He unfortunately fell during a race in Montana and bit off his tongue. The crash left him in a coma for three weeks and he never fully recover traumatic brain injury he suffered.
for another article on Bill go HERE.