Michael Johnson

Nordic Skiing

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW12

Further personal information

Residence
Mount Morris, MI, USA
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began para-cross country skiing in July 2014.
Club / Team
Michael Johnson Racing: United States
Name of coach
John Farra [national], USA; Eileen Carey [national], USA

General interest

Other sports
He has raced formula cars and competed for JDC Motorsports in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship in the United States, which is two levels below IndyCar. Prior to his accident, he had won numerous junior motorcycle national championships. (mlive.com, 26 Dec 2014)
Ambitions
In motor racing, he aspires to become the first racing driver with an impairment to win the Indy 500. (mlive.com, 26 Dec 2014)
Impairment
He was involved in a motorcycle accident at age 12, which resulted in paralysis from the waist down. (mlive.com, 26 Dec 2014)
Other information
MOTOR RACING ASPIRATION
Two years after his accident he began racing karts, and seven years later in 2014 he was racing in the Pro Mazda Series in the United States, which is just two steps below the famed IndyCar series. His formula car has a hand-controlled electronic throttle and a pair of shifter paddles to change gears. To brake, he pushes on the steering column. “I wanted to get back to racing, whatever it took. I am glad that I am able to do what I am doing now and I want to get even farther: I would like to get to Indy Lights and win races, or IndyCar or the top levels of sports cars and make a living at it. The only difference between me and other drivers is that they step out of their cars and walk away and I hop in a wheelchair and roll away." (theglobeandmail.com, 03 Sep 2014)

PROVING DOCTORS WRONG
While in hospital after his accident at age 12, doctors advised him to accept the circumstances and limits of his paralysis. This included no longer being able to play the tuba, which he played in his school band, because his diaphragm would not be strong enough to force air through the instrument. He ordered his father to bring his tuba to the hospital, and when the doctor arrived for rounds, he was greeted by the sound of Johnson playing his tuba in the hospital bed. (theglobeandmail.com, 03 Sep 2014)