Apr 192005
Authors: Laura Epple

Vital Stats:

Name: Kevin Mitchell Johnson

Year in School: Sophomore

Sport: Decathlon

Random Fact: The decathlon has been an Olympic sport since 1912. The record is held by Roman Sebrle from Gotzis, Austria, set May 2001 with a score of 9,026 points.

It's 7:15 a.m. The alarm clock goes off. Determination awakens for the start of another full day. Class starts at 8 a.m. and goes straight until lunch – the mental workout for the day. Then it is on to track practice. Quick sprints out of the blocks, jumping and throwing practice, lifting practice, all followed by more running. Rep after rep, one foot in front of the other. Five hours of practice. Determination just keeps going.

The face behind this determination is sophomore track and field team member Kevin Johnson, who has raced toward becoming an All-American decathlete since he was young.

"He is unique, determined and well-rounded," said sophomore teammate Tonya Cure. "He is an awesome role model who is very hard working and leads by example."

These attributes have combined to make Johnson successful at this extremely mentally and physically taxing event.

The decathlon is a two-day event consisting of a series of 10 athletic competitions challenging the whole body – not just one facet like most individual events. Decathletes must possess speed and endurance for running 100-meter sprints and quarter-miles the first day, then 110-meter hurdles and the long 1500-meter run on the second day. Leaping ability is also tested during long jump, high jump and pole vault. Finally, upper-body strength is challenged with throwing events that include the shot put, javelin and discus throws.

Johnson said that his favorite event is the discus throw, although he likes all throwing events.

"I like throwing events even though I'm not the biggest guy on the team," Johnson said.

From his performances so far, he has proven that bulk is overrated. Last year, Johnson broke the CSU record for indoor heptathlon – a seven-event, abridged version of the decathlon. Placing ninth at the 2004 outdoor championship and ninth in the Mountain West Conference indoor heptathlon has demarcated Johnson as one of CSU's premiere multiple-event athletes.

Johnson credits a certain fuel for energizing his intensely tenacious nature – his grandma's cooking, highlighting roast beef, mashed potatoes and veggies. He also said that he likes his ice cream straight-up vanilla, minus sprinkles or other distractions, and his quirky dislike for the smell of cookies baking amuses his friends.

"When we are baking anything, he leaves," said freshman teammate Niomi Ridge.

This isn't Johnson's only eccentricity, his friends said.

"During practice, he will sit and look at the clouds and come up with funny figures," Cure said. "One time it was an elephant sitting on a frog. He also says 'heck' a lot."

When Johnson does not have his head in the clouds, he enjoys hanging out with friends and playing disc golf.

He also enjoys reading the Bible and would like to have the power to move things with his mind if he could possess a superpower.

Academically, Johnson is a psychology major and has enjoyed his General Psychology class the most so far.

"I don't know what I want to do with my degree, yet," Johnson said when asked about his future plans.

He will have ample time to make this decision as he continues persevering through each practice and running, jumping and throwing his way into record books with the ultimate goal of nationals and All-American status.

As he competes the rest of this season and the two years after, he will attempt to tackle these feats with his self-described determined, focused and easy-going demeanor. Heck yes he will.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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