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Johnson, a Chicago native, leaped into the national spotlight as a freshman in 1979 when she broke the UW record in the long jump at 21 feet, 4 ½ inches. That particular record was only the beginning of a long and successful list of accomplishments that Johnson would claim while at Wisconsin.
Johnson wrapped up her career as a three-time AIAW National Champion in the long jump, setting two meet records. She was also a seven-time All-American and 12-time Big Ten Conference champion in the jumps and relays. Johnson won seven of a possible eight indoor and outdoor Big Ten long jump titles and also claimed five titles as a member of a relay. She was a member of seven conference championship teams in indoor and outdoor track.
Johnson placed sixth in the long jump at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials. She went on to win the bronze medal in the long jump at the 1983 Pan-American Games and also the 1987 Kizzy Award Foundation for athletic excellence from the Black Women's Hall of Fame.
The holder of the UW indoor record holder in the long jump, a record she set in 1981, Johnson also ranks second on the UW outdoor record list in the long jump.
Johnson was inducted into the University of Wisconsin's Hall of Fame in 1997. Her accomplishments have set the bar high for all other track athletes to come.