USA’s 1st Male Skiing Olympic Gold Medalist, Bill Johnson, Goes Off Life Support

Miles Clark |
Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson

“He has no physical use of any part of his body. He has difficulty even raising his head. His mind is still very keen but his body has literally shut down.” – Bill Johnson’s mother

America’s first ever downhill gold medalist & first ever alpine skiing gold medalist, Bill Johnson, has decided to go off life support.  Bill was a man who deeply experienced the highs and lows of both skiing and life in general.  He put American skiing on the map and we thank him for that.

Bill won America’s very first male alpine skiing gold medal in 1984 at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.


After that gold medal Bill won two more World Cup events then something happened.  His best finishes after 1984 were two 7th place finishes – one in 1985 & one in 1986.  Bill had some injury issues and was left off the 1988 Olympic Team.

The woes continued for Bill after 1988.  In 1992 he infant son drowned and he and his wife divorced in 1999.

For the 2002 Olympics, Bill & his “Ski To Die” tattoo attempted a comeback that ended in a horrific crash that left him in a coma leading to serious brain injuries.  In 2010 Bill had a stroke.

Bill Johnson charging
Bill Johnson charging

This summer, Bill contracted a serious infection that is attacking all of his major organs.  He’s been hospitalized since June 29th and doctors cannot stem the infection.

Bill’s life highlights the highs and lows & yin and yang of all life.  Not many achieve such heights nor dredge such depths.  We’d like to salute Bill Johnson today – a man who went flat out for glory.  Thanks Bill, not many have the courage to do what you did.

Learn a ton more about Bill Johnson in Outside Magazines 9 page article on him that came out yesterday:  “End of the Run” by Bill Donahue

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