HALL OF FAME: Gymnastics All-American Carol Johnston

2013 Hall of Fame Carol Johnston
2013 Hall of Fame Carol Johnston

2013 Hall of Fame Profile Carol Johnston

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She never planned on being a movie star. She really wanted to win a national championship. Either way, All-American Carol Johnston etched her name into Cal State Fullerton athletic lore as a member of one of the most dominant collegiate women’s gymnastics teams of her time.

Embarking on a gymnastics career at the age of 12, the 4-foot-10 Johnston was discovered by Titans’ head coach Lynn Rogers at a clinic in her hometown of Calgary, Canada, and offered a spot to join the Cal State Fullerton squad where she made an immediate impact despite being born with only a partial right arm.

As a sophomore in 1978, Johnston, who was also the WCAA champion on beam as a freshman, was named an AIAW All-American on both the balance beam and floor exercise, finishing as the national runner-up in both disciplines at the national meet that season. With her sights set firmly on winning a national title the following year, the dream came crashing down when she fell from the uneven bars during warm-ups prior to a meet, tearing ligaments in her knee and putting her in a cast for eight weeks, sidelining her for the season.

“My goal was to win the 1979 national championship in the floor exercise,” Johnston told the Daily Titan in a feature story written on Sept. 16, 1980. “I had a new routine worked out that I knew would win, and I was excited for the new season.”

She underwent surgery on her knee two days following the injury and had to watch that season while her teammates went on to win the AIAW National Championship.

However, just as quickly, a star was born. A 20-minute educational film about Johnston and her life was seen by an executive at Disney and it quickly turned into the feature film “Lefty,” premiering across the nation on “Disney’s Wonderful World” on Sept. 21, 1980. She was followed by a film crew, chronicling her daily routine, including everything from brushing her teeth in the morning to going out on dates.

That didn’t stop her from her goal of returning in time for the 1980 season, however, but another injury to the same knee did. Johnston underwent a major knee reconstruction and was out for another 12 weeks, essentially ending her competitive career.

In her three seasons with the Titans, Cal State Fullerton compiled a record of 45-0 in meets, part of a larger run that grew to 71-0 when you include the year before Johnston’s arrival in 1976 and the first three meets of 1980 before the Titans lost for the first time at Penn State -- the site of their national championship a year earlier and against the team they had edged for the school’s first Division I national title.

Johnston, along with men’s soccer standout Mike Fox, men’s basketball head coach Bobby Dye, and the 1995 NCAA National Champion baseball team, will be inducted into the hall's fifth biennial class on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Fullerton Marriott near the Cal State Fullerton campus.

Individual tickets for the 2013 Cal State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame are now available for $95 with tables of 10 available for $800. Those who wish to attend the event can register online by clicking here.

For more information on the event, please contact Greg Paules, Director of Development for Athletics, at (657) 278-4516 or via email at gpaules@fullerton.edu.

ATHLETICS TICKETS

For questions or to purchase your ticket(s):

BUY TICKETS ONLINE |(657) 278-2783|

Schedule Click For Full Schedule

Total Slides 4 : Active Index 1 : Last Slide Divs 3

-2
Wed Feb 21
7:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
at UC Riverside
TV: ESPN3
-2
Thu Feb 22
5:00 PM
San Diego
at Cal State Fullerton
-2
Thu Feb 22
7:00 PM
UC Riverside
at Cal State Fullerton
-3
Fri Feb 23
12 p.m.
at MPSF Championships
Seattle, Wash.
-2
Fri Feb 23
7:00 PM
Houston
at Cal State Fullerton
-3
Sat Feb 24
10:30 a.m.
at MPSF Championships
Seattle, Wash.
-2
Sat Feb 24
2:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
at Cal Poly
-2
Sat Feb 24
3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
at San Francisco
-2
Sat Feb 24
4:00 PM
Houston
at Cal State Fullerton
-2
Sat Feb 24
5:00 PM
LIU Brooklyn
vs. Cal State Fullerton
@ Cathedral City, Calif.
Mary Nutter Classic
-2
Sat Feb 24
7:00 PM
Long Beach State
at Cal State Fullerton
TV: ESPN2
-2
Sat Feb 24
7:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
vs. Mississippi St.
@ Cathedral City, Calif.
Mary Nutter Classic
-2
Sun Feb 25
10:00 AM
Cal State Fullerton
at Santa Clara
-2
Sun Feb 25
11:30 AM
Cal State Fullerton
vs. California
@ Cathedral City, Calif.
Mary Nutter Classic
-2
Sun Feb 25
12:00 PM
Houston
at Cal State Fullerton
-2
Sun Feb 25
2:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
vs. Arizona St.
@ Cathedral City, Calif.
Mary Nutter Classic
-2
Tue Feb 27
6:00 PM
UCLA
at Cal State Fullerton
-2
Wed Feb 28
6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
at CSUN
TV: ESPN3
No Event
No Event
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