Famous Crohnies – Olympic Edition

July 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm 1 comment

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a list of famous people with Crohn’s and Colitis for awhile now. There’s no better time than now to do it with the Olympics starting this weekend.

First on my list is Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson. Carrie was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease before the 2004 Olympics.

“It started with symptoms of fatigue and it kind of escalated to increasingly worse GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms,” Johnson said.

Carrie participates in the flatwater sprint- a two-minute race. Obviously while you are in the middle of water in a tiny kayak, having a Crohn’s episode is your worst nightmare.

In 2008, after a year including the Beijing Olympics and college, she ended up in the hospital and had to sit out her next season.

In interviews, Carrie has told reporters that she tries not to let the disease phase her or get her down. When talking about it in public,

“I don’t introduce myself as, ‘Hi, I’m Carrie and I have Crohn’s disease,’ ” she said. “But talking about it ended up helping me and I think it has helped other people.”

You can read more about her story in these news articles:

Carrie Johnson’s biggest Olympic hurdle could be her health

Kayaker Johnson battles more than waves in route to Olympic glory

Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson modifies training to deal with Crohn’s

You can also read all about her training and journey at



Entry filed under: Advocates.

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