Personal Background

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Height: 5' 7"
Birth Date: September 18, 1967

With her impressive athletic and scholarly achievements, Gea Johnson is considered one of the world's greatest female athletes. Yet, more important to her than all these achievements is her loving family. The eldest of five children, Gea grew up in a single parent home primarily in Northern California. Her childhood included everything from hunting, working on her grandfather’s feed lot, and participating in nearly every sport possible, sometimes even against boys. Gea has always helped her mother raise and support the family and cherishes the lessons of being charitable and selfless she's learned along the way.

Despite numerous injuries, surgeries, and adversities that threatened Johnson's ability to ever compete again, she never gave up. Gea Johnson's life story is an inspirational one fueled by the power of the human spirit, undying determination, and perseverance. For decades Gea has believed in a dream - an Olympic dream.

Gea became an unwilling champion by the numerous challenges she has endured and now wears the title that so many have bestowed upon her with honor. Gea has relentlessly pursued here dream in spite of insurmountable odds. She has withstood and overcome a career-ending knee injury, five open knee surgeries, two herniated discs, major foot surgery, and severe nerve damage in one leg. Then during the 2002 Winter Olympics her life and dreams were derailed by another devastating injury. Gea ruptured her hamstring which detached from the bone causing excruciating and incomprehensible pain during the competition. The severity of the injury, resulting surgery, and long arduous recovery proved the heart of a warrior beats inside her, keeping her dream alive as she went on to overcome yet another career-ending injury.

As overwhelming as this may be, while still recovering from her hamstring injury, she underwent 5 shoulder surgeries including a shoulder replacement at her young age. In true gladiator fashion, she has remarkably and unbelievably gone on to do things that NO ONE has ever done before in the history of shoulder replacements. Gea takes great pride in what she and her support team have accomplished - medical professionals have to “see it to believe it”. So, it is not hard to understand why the bone breaks and ligament tears she recently sustained in the velodrome competing in her new sport of track cycling did not stop her. Gea soldiered on to the podium with a smile and one arm wrapped tightly in duct tape!

World renowned surgeon and sports medicine doctor, Dr. Richard Emerson, brought out the best in Gea as they tirelessly worked together to triumph over injuries which were considered literally impossible and would have forced any other athlete into early retirement. But not Gea, she proudly participated in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games with her head held high and remains undefeated in her journey to more World Cup / World Championship competition, and perhaps another Olympics. This continues to be the trail of a true champion.

"A champion doesn't always win with ease. A true champion faces adversity, tastes failure, feels disappointment, and yet still rises to the challenge on every front with a bold determination to share the journey with others."

-Gea Johnson

2015 Overall Bio             2015 Cycling Bio             2000 Resume             Dial Sports Bio Sketch, 1985


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