Dick Johnson has received the “Personal Best” Award from the National Senior Games Association, the largest multi-sport event in the world for athletes 50 years and older. This recognition is only presented to a handful of athletes out of over 100,000 entrants across 20 sports. In the Games’ 31 years of history, this is only the second time a pickler has received the award, and the first for an Idahoan.
Looking at Dick’s incredible accomplishments and character, the award is well deserved.
The indomitable athlete has medaled twice in all seven national and world pickleball championships, and won close to 200 medals (mostly gold) in tournaments. More impressive yet, he’s done it within only five years of starting the sport.
Dick had played tennis since the 8th grade and won state championships. After a back fusion surgery in 1978 he continued to mentor his three daughters, all of whom became high school tennis champs.
Unfortunately, the surgery only partly suppressed Dick’s back pain, forcing him to permanently quit tennis about 20 years ago. Like many coming from a racquet sport background, he wanted to find a sport that would still challenge him and help him stay healthy without exacerbating his discomfort.
Pickleball was the answer, and the 78-year-old has given back by helping to construct a new facility at Hobble Creek in Boise, as well as becoming a founder of the Super Seniors International Pickleball Association.
Dick’s wife, Lawana, is proud of his dedication, skill and passion, saying that she is happy his work inspires others. He continues to serve through his devotion to “God, family and community.”
An article by the National Senior Games Association interviews Dick and shares more of his experiences and impressive accomplishments. Dick explains how pickleball helped him overcome his back pain and type 2 diabetes, how he got through multiple operations, his biggest inspirations and how he stays motivated.
Give it a read to find out more about this wonderful pickler! Our congratulations go out to Dick and his family.