Bill Johnson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s downhill, has “shut himself down,” his mother told 3 Wire Sports.
“He has no quality of life from this point on and never will,” DB Johnson-Cooper said.
In a note sent Sunday to family and friends, DB wrote, “The doctor was very frank with him and Bill knew exactly what he wanted. He shed a few tears, which was a very hard thing to see.”
On the telephone Tuesday, she said, “He has no physical use of any part of his body. He has difficulty even raising his head. His mind is still very keen but his body has literally shut down.”
Johnson, 53, was hospitalized June 29 and spent two weeks in intensive care while doctors unsuccessfully attempted to find the source of an infection that attacked all of his major organs, according to the U.S. Ski Team.
Johnson predicted he would win the downhill at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games and followed through, becoming the first American man to wear Olympic Alpine gold.
The man with the “Ski To Die” tattoo was left off the 1988 Olympic team, lost his son to drowning in 1992, and his marriage ended in 1999.
Johnson attempted a comeback prior to the 2002 Olympics but a horrible skiing crash left him in a temporary coma and with severe brain injuries. In 2010, he suffered a major stroke.
“More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” a one-hour documentary on the track and field legend, will air on NBC on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Morgan Freeman narrates the film on Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Games in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Here’s a clip from the documentary.
“’More Than Gold’ will invite viewers inside the story of a pioneering athlete, who in the face of racial discrimination at home and the horrific theories and practices of Nazi Germany, performed at his best under immense pressure,” Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group, said in a press release. “Viewers will experience the Games through the compelling memories of Jesse’s surviving Olympic teammates, who were eye-witnesses to those events.”
“More Than Gold” includes interviews with Owens’ 1936 Olympic teammates swimmers Adolph Kiefer and Iris Cummings Critchell and canoeist John Lysak and Owens’ three daughters.
“Jesse Owens was the hero of every member of the 1936 Olympic team,” Kiefer said in a press release. “We all wanted him to win. We wanted him to win four medals. I’m just sorry it wasn’t five. He’s No. 1 and always will be.”
The film will also feature footage from the famous 1936 Olympic film “Olympia” from German director Leni Riefenstahl.
A feature-length film on Owens, “Race,” hits theaters on Feb. 19.
VIDEO: Three clips from ‘Race’ film about Jesse Owens
LONDON (AP) — Seeking to calm fears over the Zika outbreak, the IOC medical director tells The Associated Press that “everything that can be done is being done” to combat the virus in Brazil and provide safe conditions for athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Dr. Richard Budgett says the International Olympic Committee is “absolutely not complacent” about the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to birth defects.
He says “our priority is to protect the health of the athletes, we do take it very seriously.”
Budgett says the outbreak should be kept “in perspective,” noting that world health authorities have not called for a restriction on travel to Brazil.
He says there has been no consideration of postponing or canceling the Olympics, which are scheduled from Aug. 5-21.
MORE: USOC to hire Zika specialists