Skip to comments.Life catches up to skier 'Wild Bill' Johnson
Posted on 02/03/2010 9:48:29 PM PST by pissant
Bill Johnson was always five pounds of dynamite in a four-pound box. When he was a kid, the cops could not contain him. Oh, they'd catch him now and then -- breaking into houses or stealing a car -- but they couldn't quell the explosive temperament. "Wild Bill," they called him.
Downhill racing has always attracted such mad dogs and misfits -- it's almost a job requirement. Who else but a crazy person skims down a frozen Popsicle at 90 mph? So it seems somehow prearranged that, on ice-caked vistas, Johnson would find an outlet for his lawless zeal. From the time he was 17, Johnson tore up the slopes of the Pacific Northwest. Tough as an ax handle. Bad to the bone.
By the time he was 23, the world's best skiers couldn't keep up with him, in spirit or in deed. At Sarajevo in 1984, he boldly predicted he would win the downhill -- and he did, becoming the first American male ever to win Olympic gold in an Alpine event.
But the world has a way of catching up with mad dogs and misfits, and such is the saga of Johnson, now 49. Half paralyzed and slow of mind and speech, he spends long days playing cards or video games in his remote Oregon trailer, tended to by a buddy who soon has to leave him and a mother who never will.
Some would argue that Johnson has made his own misfortune, but they probably don't know the full story -- the lost savings, the failed marriage, the death of a young child.
"His success came from an inner drive and belief that most people don't tap into," says former teammate Phil Mahre.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
How very sad. They only issue one brain per customer.
He is so messed up his link won’t even work.
Link works now.
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