Carol Johnston

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For those of a similar name, see Carol Johnson (disambiguation).

Carol Johnston (born March 10, 1958, Calgary, Alberta) was an American competitive gymnast, born without a right arm below her elbow.[1] Johnston was a collegiate gymnastics champion who was featured in the 1979 film Lefty.,[2][3] one of a series of short films by Walt Disney Educational entitled The Truly Exceptional, aiming to show how people live with disabilities.[4]

Early life[edit]

Carol Johnston was born on March 10, 1958 in Calgary, Alberta. At first she planned on going into figure skating. The only reason that she started gymnastics was to strengthen her legs for figure skating. She got really into gymnastics and fell in love with it. So at the age of 12, she put her mind and soul into gymnastics.[5] After Carol competed in Montreal, she enrolled at the Fullerton campus of California State University which was where she won most of her championships and awards.[6]


In 1975, Johnston performed in the Canada Winter Games and the following year she competed at the Junior Olympics in Montreal and at the Hawaii Invitations.[5] After that,she competed four seasons with the Titans at Cal State from 1977-1980. While she was with them she was two-time-All-American on balance beam and floor exercise, but her team took second on beam and floor. In addition to that, she was also a conference champion on beam in 1977.[1] In 1979, she was determined to win the gold at the NCAA s, where she had trained her hardest that season. Unfortunately, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament during warm-up for the competition against UCLA and wasn't able to finish the meet. When she got this injury was when she said she truly felt disabled. After her injury she was able to come back but re-injured her knee again and had no other choice but to stop competitive gymnastics.[5]

Johnson graduated from California State University, Fullerton in 1981 and in 1988 graduated with a Masters in physical education from Cal State. In 1989 she was the subject of a book by Pete Donovan called Carol Johnston: One-Armed Gymnast.

Johnson says that she was born with drive due to her disability, and never felt sorry for herself. Many people have been inspired by her story, realizing that their own lives are not quite as bad as her life has had to be living with a disability like hers.[7]


  1. ^ a b Carol Johnston, 1-armed Gymnast,, 14 May 2010
  2. ^ "Herald-Journal - Google News Archive Search." Google News. Web. 02 Sept. 2010.
  3. ^,3909111&dq=carol-johnston gymnastics&hl=en
  4. ^ "Disney Shorts - "Educational Shorts"" The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts. Web. 09 Sept. 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Whatever Happened to Carol Johnston?,, 13 Sept. 2010
  6. ^ Johnston Carol Johnston, Web. 13 Sept. 2010.
  7. ^ "Cal State Fullerton Women's Gymnastics, Cal State Fullerton Official Athletic Site, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 09 Sept. 2010.