2010 & 11 Guest Athlete
Johnson, a graduate of Cresent Valley High School in Corvallis, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in 1986 before returning to his alma mater to receive his Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2003. As a member of APU’s nationally-known track & field program, Johnson tutored under former Olympic head coach Terry Franson. During that time and for more than a decade, Johnson ranked among the top international decathletes of his day, competing in four straight Olympic Trials (1984, ’88, ’92, & ’96), while qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team twice, first in 1988, and then again in 1992.
While training for the 1992 Olympics, Johnson suffered a broken foot. Resisting medical advice urging him to discontinue, Johnson pressed on to capture the bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics and became the first American medalist in the decathlon since Bruce Jenner's gold medal effort at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Johnson's inspiring Olympic experience and Christian faith are highlighted in the 1994 autobiography Aim High, published by Zondervan.
Leading up to the ’92 Summer Games, Johnson was involved in an eight-month, world-wide Reebok campaign known as Dan and Dave featuring Johnson with fellow Olympic-hopeful Dan O’Brien in a series of popular TV commercials. Reebok’s goal was to promote a “Clash of the Titans” theme in Barcelona, as both Oregonians battled for the gold medal and coveted title of “World’s Greatest Athlete.” Unfortunately, O’Brien failed to qualify at the Olympic Trials, forcing Reebok to re-work its campaign with the focus on Johnson’s pursuit of Olympic gold.
“The goals were high for me during the summer of ’92,” commented Johnson. “Despite competing on a broken foot, I knew that God had a vision for my future. Since then, I have seen a lot of things happen in my life that has led up to this point and I feel that the Lord has molded everything in my life for a reason.
Johnson served two years as Director of Athletics and Vice Principal at Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Oregon. In addition to administrative duties at Jefferson, he worked with other schools and the Oregon School Activities Association. Johnson spent the past two years as Athletics Director at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon. He assumed duties as Athletic Director at Corban University on July 1st, 2009.
Dave Johnson currently resides in Salem with his wife, Sheri, and four children (Alexandra, Makenzie, Gabriel, and Eliason), while also working as an Olympic & motivational speaker for clients such as Reebok, IBM, VISA, and Billy Graham. Johnson and his family attend Morning Star Community Church in South Salem.