Wednesday, February 11, 1998
Johnson makes family proud
From little Louis Johnson, all of six weeks old, to 72-year-old grandparents Don and Lucienne Doucette, Johnson's Olympic effort in last night's freestyle moguls had family and friends beaming with pride.
About 20 family and friends gathered in the basement of the Doucette's southwest Calgary apartment complex to hold a party and watch Ryan compete on TV.
Johnson, 23, who'd been sick with the flu for the past two days, put on a valiant run but lacked the energy to duplicate the magic of his runs in the qualification rounds.
"We feel so proud of him, but he looked like he was not as strong," said granddad.
"I'm just glad he did not get hurt."
Johnson's run was technically sound but in the speed segment, he was not nearly as fast as the medallists. Family watching on TV knew right away he was not at his best.
"This was a great day for him and when he comes home we'll all be at the airport to cheer for him," said aunt Sue Lebel.
Karen Johnson, Louis' mom and Ryan's sister-in-law, said she hoped her son could one day follow in Ryan's footsteps.
"We all love to ski. Don't think it will take long for the other kids to follow," she said.
Many of the family members skied with Ryan as he grew up in Brag Creek an took his first runs on the modest slopes of WinterGreen.
Johnson's parents, Linda and Murray, and brother Paul were in Nagano for the big day.
Johnson was a longshot to make the team at the beginning of the 1997-98 World Cup season when he finished 61st and 29th in his first two events.
He rebounded with a seventh-place finish in an event just prior to Christmas to nail down the fourth and final spot for the Olympics.
To those who know Ryan it wasn't as much a surprise -- his skiing resume includes a bronze and gold medal from the 1996-97 World Cup season.