Heading into the 1984 Olympics, everyone assumed that China would take the men’s team gold. After all, China won the 1983 World Championship team title and their major rival, the Soviet Union, was not competing at the 1984 Olympics because of the Soviet boycott. It therefore came as a surprise when the USA men’s team, the “Boys of Summer” as they had been nicknamed, emerged from nowhere to win the title. The historic win marked the first American gold medal in eight decades and the first team medal of any kind since the early ’30s. Scott Johnson was a member of this team.
Johnson was a major player for the US National team throughout most of the 1980s. A three-time National champion, Johnson made history at the 1987 Pan Am Games. Not only did he become the AA champion, but in doing so he broke the Pan Am Games all around record (scoring 116.25). Even more impressive is that he became the first gymnast in Pan Am Games history to win medals on every event.
Johnson competed for the University of Nebraska for a fair share of his elite career. As a Husker, Johnson brought glamour and pride to his school, earning All American 11 times. Unfortunately, there was little money to be made in gymnastics in the 1980s and Johnson eventually had to withdraw from the University of Nebraska to support his gymnastics career. He found a flexible job as a manager for McDonald’s, and this allowed him to continue competing.
Scott Johnson went on to compete for the US at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, becoming one of a handful of two time Olympians in American gymnastics. That same year, he was one of ten athletes nominated for the prestigious James E. Sullivan award.
Following the 1988 Olympics, Scott “retired” to Florida and resumed his job in management for McDonald’s. He married on May 3, 1986, and in the early 1990s he and his wife, Lori, had two sons: Nicholas and Nathan.
Like most gymnasts, Scott Johnson did not completely give up gymnastics upon retiring. He travels around the US giving clinics and exhibitions for schools and clubs, as well as giving lectures and motivational speeches about his Olympic experiences. He currently works as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.