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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
Imagen
Michael Johnson of New Zealand competing at Rio 2016

Michael Johnson

Shooting
2

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.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SH2

Further personal information

Residence
Auckland, NZL
Occupation
Athlete, Coach
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began target shooting in 2002.
Why this sport?
He was looking for a hobby following his accident, and chose shooting after seeing a brochure for Parafed Auckland Shooting Club in New Zealand. He was not serious about the sport at first but losing encouraged him to improve. "I didn't like that feeling, and it spurred me on to be better. I decided right there and then I didn't want to be the person in second place."

International debut

Year
2002
Competing for
New Zealand

General interest

Nicknames
Mike (parafedauckland.co.nz, 02 Mar 2014)
Most influential person in career
His father. (disabilitytv.com, 15 May 2007)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Don't get stressed by the small stuff, and regardless of your results there will always be another competition." (paralympics.org.nz, 15 Apr 2015)
Awards and honours
He was named the Sport Performer of the Year at the 2015 Attitude Awards in Auckland, New Zealand. (stuff.co.nz, 04 Dec 2015)

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)
Impairment
His impairment is the result of a car accident in 1996, at age 22, which left him with a broken neck and spinal cord injuries. (tvnz.co.nz, 11 Sep 2008; stuff.co.nz, 06 May 2018)
Other information
COACHING FOCUS
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)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
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)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Air Rifle Standing SH2 Qualification 7
Mixed Air Rifle Standing SH2 Final Round 3
Mixed Air Rifle Prone SH2 Qualification 9
2010 IPC Shooting World Championships (Zagreb, Croatia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
2014 IPC Shooting World Championships (Suhl, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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
Cheongju 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships (Cheongju, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
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