During adolescence Dave Johnson was afflicted with Osgood-Schlatter's disease in both knees that kept him from participating in high school sports for the most part.
As a child Dave was exceptionally fit and coordinated and lifted weights from a young age. In college he started to compete in the decathlon - at 6'4", he put his innate abilities and his constant physical training to use and began setting records. After several years he was generally acknowledged as the best decathlete to date. At this time Dan O'Brien appeared on the scene and began to provide Dave with his first real competition. Dan O'Brien and Dave became good friends and consistently placed first and second in most events. Dan eventually began to be considered the best overall decathlete, but Dave earned the recognition as the best ever at 2nd day events.
In the 1992 Summer Olympic games, the team of "Dan & Dave" was promoted as the real competition in the games and the question of who would take first and who would come in second was widely debated. Dan failed to qualify for the team when he no-heighted on the pole vault, leaving Dave as the presumed gold medal winner.
Unfortunately, Dave experienced a stress fracture in his left foot on the first day of events. He put on a shoe two sizes larger, laced it up tight, and competed anyway and won the bronze medal. His endorsement career continued for at least another year after the Barcelona Olympic Games and included Oakley Sunglasses, Pert Shampoo, Ryder Trucks, and Reebok shoes among others.
Johnson later retired from competition and became an inspirational christian speaker. He also wrote the book "Aim High - An Olympic Decathlete's Inspiring Story" with Verne Becker.
Dave currently teaches special ed at West Albany High School in Albany, Oregon, also serving as a part time administrator and track coach.