Going for Gold with Crohn's Disease: Meet Carrie Johnson

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Carrie Johnson recently placed fifth in the 2007 World Championships of Kayaking. She was also the first U.S. kayaker to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Carrie Johnson also makes no secret about the fact she lives with Crohn's disease.


    Carrie's Crohn's symptoms began while she was training for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. While she was training for the Games, Carrie began suffering from extreme fatigue, severe weight loss and anemia. At the time, Carrie was unable to hold down food, and lost 20 pounds in 30 days. Maintaining the energy level needed for training as a world class athlete was almost impossible. Carrie was soon diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and fortunately her doctors were able to get her condition under control in time for her to compete in the 2004 Olympics. She finished in tenth place, the highest ever for a U.S. kayaker.

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    Carrie is a proud advocate for people living with Crohn's disease. She is actively involved in the CrohnsAndMe website (CrohnsAndMe.com), a site dedicated to people whose lives are affected by Crohn's disease. The website contains useful links to Crohn's disease resources, a tracking feature to help keep records of Crohn's symptoms, and information about the treatment available for Crohn's disease.


    Johnson, a native of California, is now 24 years old, and will compete in Beijing in a 26 pound single kayak. The boat is just wide enough to sit in, so her goal will be to combine balance with strength to move her boat faster than all of the others. The women's kayaking competition will begin on August 19th, followed by the semifinals on August 21st and the finals on August 23rd. You can check out NBCOlympics.com for more information on what kayaking events will be covered, and when they will be shown on TV.


    I for one, will be watching and cheering her on.


    Find out which other former and current Olympians are battling IBD. Take the Olympians with IBD quiz!


    Want more Olympics health information? Visit our 2008 Beijing Olympics page!

Published On: August 06, 2008