Athlete of the Week: Dimond Gymnast Lilah Johnson

Athlete of the Week Lilah Johnson shines in the last gymnastics meet of the year.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Dimond High School senior Lilah Johnson has been a four-year gymnast, varsity cheerleader and football cheerleader.

The senior dazzles for Dimond with her floor routine, but she also competes in all of the other gymnastics disciplines — the beam, the vault and the bars — but the floor routine is by far her favorite.

“Just because I feel like I’m the best at it and you know since I didn’t do gymnastics since I was little it’s just easier for me to pick it up since I’ve been doing comp cheer for a while, and it’s just really fun to do, like I like the showmanship that comes with it and everything, like the sass, the dancing I like all of it,” said Johnson.

Unlike many high-level gymnasts, Johnson didn’t start the sport until high school. But with her years of competitive cheer and hard work, it was an easy transition. With all the time and effort she put in, it wasn’t long before she was one of the better gymnasts in the state.

“For the past four years she has been the hardest worker,” Dimond Gymnastics head coach Stephanie Collins said. “I don’t think there will be anyone who will ever come near working as hard as she does. She is never afraid or if she is she will still do it and be like ‘oh that wasn’t so bad.’”

When Johnson graduates at the end of the year, she will be one of the few athletes to do so having earned a varsity letter in three different sports for four straight years.

“I like gymnastics better just because it’s like a team sport, but each person has to do their job and we are still able to cheer each other on,” Johnson said. “On floor, it just helps getting all that adrenaline and it’s based on your own skill level instead of like a team skill level so it’s just easier to show off I guess.”

She capped off her gymnastics career with an amazing performance on the floor routine — scoring a 9.4 ― just fractions of a point from first place. Despite not getting first in her favorite event, Johnson’s great performance helped Dimond to a team score 15 points higher than they had all season long.

You can tell a great deal about an athlete based on what their coaches say about them, and when it comes to Johnson, her coaches were glowing.

“I have everything to say about this child,” Collins said. “I’m going to miss her a lot when she graduates. There is going to be no one that can replace her.”

Johnson is hoping to go on to college next year and use all of the talents she has learned to become a cheerleader at the next level.