A.J. Johnson '15: Striking Pins for Team USA
As the world’s top athletes take center stage at the Summer Olympic Games in London
this month, McKendree bowler and Team USA member Adam “A.J.” Johnson ’15, along with
the top bowlers from 28 countries in the Western Hemisphere, will compete in the 50th Lee Evans Tournament of the Americas in Tamarac, Fla.
While recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee, bowling is currently one of thirty-three sports not sanctioned to participate in the Olympics. For A.J.being a member of Team USA and having the opportunity to represent the red, white, and blue at an international tournament is a dream come true.
For A.J., being a member of Team USA is a dream come true.
“This has been my dream and goal since I was a little kid,” he said. “To have it happen is surreal – it's really left me speechless. All the time and energy I have put into bowling and practice seems to have paid off. This has been incredible and I'm looking forward to representing my country. Having the letters USA on my back anywhere I go is the greatest feeling you could have in this sport.”
A.J. earned a spot on the team at the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Team USA Trials back in January, 2012.
In addition to making the Team USA roster, A.J. also qualified to be a member of the Junior Team USA. The Junior Team USA squad is open to individuals 20 or younger. A.J. is one of 20 members on both Team USA and Junior Team USA. He joined several notables who have made their mark in the professional ranks, including reigning USBC Queens champion Diandra Asbaty, reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Sean Rash, and PBA Triple Crown winner Chris Barnes.
A.J. added to his impressive resume by winning the 20-and-under national title at the USBC North Pointe Junior Gold Championships on July 20, 2012.
"This is one of the greatest feelings in the world," said A.J. "This is the biggest youth tournament in the country, and to come out on top is truly a blessing.“
The sophomore sport management major from Oswego, Ill., began training with Team USA – for both the men's squad and the junior team – in May at the International Training and Research Center (ITRC) in Arlington, Texas.
According to the USBC website, the ITRC is home to some of the most innovative and cutting-edge coaching technologies available in the bowling industry today, including high-speed video cameras, motion-capture devices, foot-pressure sensors, goggles enhanced with cameras to show exactly where a player is looking during the approach and delivery and a vest which tracks and measures players’ stance and body position throughout their delivery.