Liz Johnson (swimmer)

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Liz Johnson
Personal information
Birth nameElizabeth Johnson
National teamTeam GB
Born (1985-12-03) 3 December 1985 (age 38)[1][2][3]
Newport, Wales, United Kingdom[1][3]
Alma materSwansea University
Height1.64 m (5 ftin)[3]
CountryGreat Britain
SportParalympic swimming[1]
DisabilityCerebral palsy[1]
Disability classS6 classification[1]
Event(s)Breaststroke, Freestyle
ClubTeam Bath
Coached byMark Skimming
Medal record
Paralympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Women's SB6 100 m breaststroke[1][3]
Silver medal – second place 2004 Athens Women's SB6 100 m breaststroke[1][3]
Bronze medal – third place 2012 London Women's SB6 100 m breaststroke
IPC World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2006 Durban SB6 100 m breaststroke[1][3]
Gold medal – first place 2006 Durban 4x50 m freestyle[3]
Gold medal – first place 2006 Durban 4x50 m medley[3]
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Eindhoven SB6 100 m breaststroke
IPC World Championships (SC)
Gold medal – first place 2009 Rio de Janeiro SB6 100 m breaststroke[3]
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Rio de Janeiro SM6 200 m individual medley[3]
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Rio de Janeiro SM6 100 m individual medley[3]
IPC European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2011 Berlin SB6 100 m breaststroke
Silver medal – second place 2009 Reykjavik SB6 100 m breaststroke[3]
Bronze medal – third place 2001 Stockholm 200 m individual medley[3]
Updated on 12 September 2016.

Elizabeth Johnson (born 3 December 1985) is a British swimmer who has won gold medals in the Paralympic Games and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) world championships.[1] She has cerebral palsy, placing her in the S6 classification.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson was born in Newport, Wales, on 3 December 1985.[1][3][4] She has cerebral palsy,[1] and, at the age of three, was encouraged by her mother to join a group for disabled swimmers to strengthen and relax her muscles. She came to love[weasel words] the sport, competing as an S6 swimmer,[1][3][4] and was selected to swim for Team GB at the age of 14.[2] Johnson attended Swansea University and in 2008, completed a degree in business management and finance.[1][3] She currently lives in Bath, Somerset,[3] and trains with the University of Bath training group, Team Bath.[1][3]

While Johnson was on the aeroplane to the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, her mother died after a long battle with cervical cancer. She decided to continue with the Games when she was told that the funeral could be held when she returned home.[2]

Johnson spends one day a week studying accountancy, and is considering a career in that field when she retires from competitive swimming.[1][3]

She has been in a relationship with Brazilian para-swimmer Phelipe Rodrigues since 2011.[5]

In July 2016, Johnson appeared in the eleventh series of Celebrity Masterchef on BBC One.

She is an athlete mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.[6]



Johnson is significant within the British Para Swimming Team; specialising in breaststroke, she is one of a select few to have won gold medals in the Paralympics, World Championships, and European Championships.[1][7]

At the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa, Johnson won an individual gold medal in the 100 metre breaststroke, and two relay golds.[3] She repeated her breaststroke success at the 2009 event, breaking the world record in the process,[3] and also picked up two individual medley bronze medals.[3] She won gold in the 100 metre breaststroke at the 2008 Summer Paralympics,[1][3] eleven days after the death of her mother, dedicating the victory to her memory.[1][3][2]

Johnson's successes were recognised when, in April 2011, she was given the honour of laying the final tile in the competition pool at the London Aquatics Centre.[1][8] She was also selected as the Paralympic Oath taker for the 2012 Paralympic Games.[9]

Johnson added to her Paralympic medal collection at London 2012 Paralympics, as she set a new Paralympic record en route. Johnson recorded a season's best time of 1:40.90, to take the bronze medal in the SB6 100 m backstroke. In the buildup towards her fourth Paralympics at Rio, Johnson underwent an operation for a hernia. While recovering, she found herself falling behind in her training, which impacted on her preparation for the 2016 Paralympic trials. Her failure to make the trials resulted in her decision to retire from competitive swimming.[10]


In August 2018, Johnson announced starting "The Ability People" an organization that is aimed at recruiting disabled people beside the able-bodied people without discrimination.[11][12][13] In 2018, she was listed as one of the BBC's 100 Women.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Aquatics 2012; Meet the Team – Elizabeth Johnson". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Liz Johnson – Paralympics GB – London 2012 Olympics". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Liz Johnson CV" (PDF). Threshold Sports. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Elizabeth Johnson". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 28 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  5. ^ Rebello, Helena (25 April 2015). "Fora das piscinas, britânica aproveita Open para rever namorado brasileiro" [Outside the pool, Briton takes Open to review Brazilian boyfriend] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  6. ^ Abernethy, Laura (13 May 2020). "My Quarantine Routine: Liz, a former Paralympian working from home". Metro. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Liz Johnson biography" (PDF). MTC. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Final tile laid in London 2012 pool". Government of the United Kingdom. April 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  9. ^ Frampton, Ben (31 August 2012). "Swim coach speaks of pride as Newport star takes Paralympic oath". South Wales Argus. Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Swimmer Liz Johnson retires ahead of Rio 2016 after injuries". BBC Sport. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  11. ^ "The UK's first disability-led employment agency is about to launch". The Independent. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Liz Johnson, ex-Paralympian, starts the UK's first disability-led employment agency - RECRUITING TIMES". RECRUITING TIMES. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  13. ^ Evans, Peter (15 July 2018). "Paralympian Liz Johnson makes splash in jobs market". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.

External links[edit]