Full name: Albert H. Johnson
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Born: May 1, 1931 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Great Britain
Died: May 20, 2011 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Affiliations: Sheffield United Harriers, Sheffield (GBR)
Country: Great Britain
Albert Johnson went through many hardships to become an Olympian. Born with a deformed foot it was believed he would never be able to walk without the aid of leg calipers. He also contracted a serious hip infection and his parents were advised that he might not live into his teens. Johnson recovered from his illness and, at the age of sixteen, went through a series of operations that for the first time gave him complete mobility in his hips and legs.
A year later he decided to test himself by entering the Sheffield Star Walk, a local 12 mile race, despite having no experience of race walking. He finished last but twelve months later, after a year of hard training, finished on the podium. In 1954 he finished 2nd behind John Ljunggren in the National 50 km walk championships and was chosen for the European Championships in Bern. His major championship debut ended in disappointment, however, when he was forced to retire suffering from dehydration.
After two successful years he was chosen for the 1956 Olympic Games in the 50 km walk and after struggling to cope with the heat mid-race rallied to finish respectable 8th. His next appearance at the Olympic Games was the biggest disappointment of his career. Whilst contesting the lead with the eventual winner of the 1960 50 km walk, Don Thompson, he was given his third warning for lifting and disqualified from the race. In 1963 he took a job as a psychiatric nurse at a hospital on the Isle of Man and went on to compete for the island at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. He served as the Isle of Man’s national walking coach from 1967 to 1971 but then moved back to his home town of Sheffield where became involved in coaching some of England’s best walkers including Commonwealth Games champion John Warhurst. In 1974 he emigrated to Australia and settled in Tasmania. Over the next thirty years he coached some of the island’s foremost distance runners and walkers and one of his charges, Kylie Risk, followed him into Olympic competition.
Personal Best: 50kmW – 4-26:40 (1958).
|1956 Summer||25||Melbourne||Athletics||Men's 50 kilometres Walk||Great Britain||GBR||8|
|1960 Summer||29||Roma||Athletics||Men's 50 kilometres Walk||Great Britain||GBR||AC||DQ|