Michael Johnson is one of his country’s proudest Paralympians, having represented New Zealand at every Paralympic Games since Athens 2004. And he shows no sign of slowing down, having won R4 (mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2) silver at the 2018 World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea.
He is a well-respected member of the Para sport community in New Zealand and worldwide, acting as a coach for Parafed Auckland and as Athlete Liaison on the sport's Technical Committee, in addition to his competitive ambitions.
The Auckland native won R4 gold at Athens 2004, and returned to Beijing 2008 aiming to defend his title but finished with bronze. He went on to win gold in R9 (men’s 50m rifle prone SH2) at the World Championships in 2010, followed by bronze in R4 at London 2012.
In 2013, he entered the European Championships in Alicante, Spain, where he won a silver medal in his favourite event, R4, showing that he still had the nerve to finish amongst the top shooters in the world. Johnson was permitted to compete at the European Championships, as Oceania did not have enough nations participating in the sport to create their own regional Championships.
In 2015, Johnson continued his run of form by setting a new R5 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH2) world record at a World Cup in Poland.
At Rio 2016 however, he faced stiff competition in R4 from Slovenia’s Goradz Francek Tirsek who tied with Johnson for bronze at London 2012 and proved to be troublesome once again by finishing on the podium.
Ukrainian hot-shot Vasyl Kovalchuk, a top-three finisher from the European Championships, was also the victor in R5.
All of this meant that Johnson left a Paralympic Games without a medal for the first time since 2004.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
He was New Zealand's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (paralympic.org, 15 May 2012)
He was given the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011 for his services to Paralympic sport. (Athlete, 17 May 2012; gg.govt.nz, 03 Aug 2011)
He won the MVP award at the Jikji Cup in South Korea in 2007 after winning all four events he entered. (melrosechairs.co.nz, 15 May 2011)
He began to focus on coaching following the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "When I started the sport, I was the only athlete in New Zealand and I just thought we need more shooters. So I've been just trying to promote it and have been coaching people, trying to get them in." He combines his roles as coach and athlete at international competitions. "I do better when I'm distracted. I'll be running an event, and coaching, and shooting, and setting everything up. But I end up doing better rather than if I was just focusing on shooting." (paralympic.org, 30 Jun 2017, 02 May 2018)
Since 2014 he has served as a shooting Para sport athlete liaison officer for the International Paralympic Committee [IPC]. He has also served as the president of Parafed Auckland Shooting Club in New Zealand. (paralympic.org, 2017; paralympics.org.nz, 15 Apr 2015; insidethegames.biz, 09 Dec 2014)
|Mixed Air Rifle Standing SH2||Qualification||7|
|Mixed Air Rifle Standing SH2||Final Round||3|
|Mixed Air Rifle Prone SH2||Qualification||9|
|Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2||Qualification||2010-07-21||2|
|Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH1||Qualification||2010-07-23||1|
|Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2||Qualification||2010-07-24||20|
|R5 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Prone SH2||Qualification||2012-09-01||5|
|R5 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Prone SH2||Final Round||2012-09-01||4|
|R4 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Standing SH2||Final Round||2012-09-02||3|
|R4 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Standing SH2||Qualification||2012-09-02||1|
|Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH2||Qualification||2014-07-19||11|
|Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2||Qualification||2014-07-21||11|
|Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2||Qualification||2014-07-23||4|
|Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2||Final||2014-07-23||3|
|R4 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Standing SH2||Final Round||2016-09-10||5|
|R4 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Standing SH2||Qualification||2016-09-10||4|
|R5 - Mixed 10 m Air Rifle Prone SH2||Qualification||2016-09-13||31|
|R4 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2||Qualification||2018-05-05||2|
|R4 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle standing SH2||Final||2018-05-05||2|
|R5 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2||Qualification||2018-05-05||5|
|R5 - Mixed 10m Air Rifle prone SH2||Final||2018-05-05||7|
|R9 - Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH2||Qualification||2018-05-05||5|
|R9 - Mixed 50m Rifle prone SH2||Final||2018-05-05||7|