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North grad Johnson wins spot on U.S. Olympic team

Kibwe Johnson made one piece of history and took a step closer to another during the hammer throw competition of U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials.

The Suwanee native and 1998 North Gwinnett grad became the first Gwinnett high school graduate to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team by winning the trials Thursday in Beaverton, Ore.

Johnson, who had fought through a wrist injury suffered in late May, actually clinched the competition in his first toss of his preliminary flight, which went 74.40 meters (244 feet, 1 inch), though he left no doubt after throwing a season-best 74.97 meters (245-11) in the second round of the championship finals.

Those throws outdistanced fellow team members Chris Cralle (243-11) and A.G. Kruger (242-6).

"I wanted a season best," Johnson told a national television audience following the competition. "And I knew I was probably in good enough shape to do that."

Now, Johnson's focus turns to the 2012 Olympic Games next month in London, and his quest to become the first U.S. hammer thrower to earn a medal since the 1996 games in Atlanta, and perhaps the first U.S. gold medal thrower since 1956.

"It's medal time," Johnson said in his post-competition television interview. "It's long overdue."

Comments

NewsReader 2 years, 6 months ago

This is cool. We'll be watching to see you bring home the GOLD!

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Gary 2 years, 6 months ago

CONGRATULATIONS, KIBWE! On to London! With "cool confidence", you made those impressive opening throws, without fouls, establishing yourself, as the front runner, and transferring all the pressure from you to your competitors! Along with all your North Gwinnett and Suwanee fans, I applaud your award-winning accomplishment. I compliment you on your Bulldog determination and dedication in your quest to be number one in the United States in the hammer throw. Kibwe, Friday night, you achieve that! Now, Good Luck in your quest to be NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD! Much success to you and your United States teammates in the 2012 Olympics

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