Johnson wins silver at Pan Ams
North grad runner-up in hammer throw

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - North Gwinnett grad Kibwe Johnson made quite an impression in his first international competition.

The 26-year-old placed second in the men's hammer throw Wednesday night at the Pan American Games in Brazil, finishing as the top American in the event. On his final throw of the night, Johnson unleased a toss of 73.23 meters (240 feet, 3 inches) to take the silver medal.

His final throw was just behind the gold medal winner, Canada's James Steacy, who threw 73.77 meters. The next highest American finisher was two-time U.S. champion A.G. Kruger in fourth place at 68.71 meters, just behind Argentina's Juan Ignacio Cerra (72.12 meters).

Johnson finished in second in the hammer behind Kruger at last month's USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

"I am extremely happy with my last throw and the silver medal," Johnson told USA Track and Field. "This is my first U.S. team. My medal means a lot to me. I'm all smiles."

Johnson, a 1999 North grad, competed for one season at Georgia and then at Moorpark Community College (Calif.). He finished his college career at Ashland University (Ohio), a prominent school for throwers.

He competed just one season for Ashland in 2006-07, but left with three Division II national titles - indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer and discus throws.