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Ashleigh Johnson Interview: Olympic Water Polo Goalie
“We’re here to play the game. We’re here to inspire with our athleticism, with our hard work, with our minds, and with our passions. When you turn the discussion to be about our bodies it takes away everything we’re doing, it takes away every other way that we hope to inspire.” - Ashleigh Johnson
We’re excited to introduce our newest JoPro, Ashleigh Johnson. Ashleigh is an Olympic Gold Medal-winner and the first black woman to be a member of an Olympic Water Polo Team for the USA. She’s a trailblazer for people of color in aquatic sports, and not only does she inspire us here at JOLYN, but she inspires the next generation of water polo players around the world. She is the future of water polo, and our February edition of Women Who Inspire Us.
Growing up in Miami, Ashleigh and her three siblings decided together that they would all play water polo. Picking water polo was an easy choice, says Ashleigh, whose other option was swimming and “chasing a black line for hours.”
Putting in the work to excel in water sports has shaped Ashleigh’s life in the best way possible. As she stayed with the sport through high school and at Princeton University, she earned endless awards — from a four-year letter winner to becoming Princeton’s All-Time Leader in saves to an Olympic Gold Medalist at the 2016 Olympics with dreams for another in 2020.
She’s considered the best female water polo player in the world, but her path has not been without its obstacles. She often felt different in so many ways and tells us there’s still so much work to be done in the sport. It’s this opportunity for growth and change in the sport that gives her purpose as an athlete to push forward and make change. Ashleigh knows she’s representing where she comes from, people who look like her and she’s proud to help break down barriers.
We’re proud to support Ashleigh in all the ways that she inspires people around the world and are so excited to be her biggest fan from now on, especially this year at the Tokyo Olympics.
For even more inspiration check out our interview with Ashleigh.