US Olympian shares experience at alma mater Ransom Everglades

COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) — Students at a South Florida school are hearing from an alumna who represented the USA in the 2016 Olympics.

It’s not everyday a former student comes back to show everyone her gold medal to be an inspiration at her alma mater, but Ashleigh Johnson did just that, Thursday.

Johnson spoke to the students at Ransom Everglades about her golden moment. She was a goalie for Team USA when they won the gold for water polo.

Johnson credits her education and support from her former high school coaches for her success at the Rio Games. “I hope I was inspiring. One of the pieces of advice I gave, is to lean on the people around you,” Johnson said. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to take what people are offering to you, all their help. I took what Ransom gave to me, and I ran with it. They’ve helped me so much in this process.”

The 21-year-old is the first and only African-American on the U.S. water polo team. She’s won four state water polo titles and one in swimming at Ransom.

Current students at Ransom told 7News they were inspired by Johnson’s visit.

“She, like me, came in as a freshman, set goals for herself and she covered them,” said Ransom Everglades student Maui Quirch. “She did what she intended to do, and that’s all I want in my sports career.”

Trent Bianchi who attends Ransom Everglades admires her and what she has accomplished. “She found her passion, and she inspired me to pursue what I want to do,” he said. “I can become successful like her.”

Johnson said she was happy to catch up with the school that helped start it all. “I just wanted to share a little bit of my experience with them and show them what I’ve been doing in the past year and what hard work brings,” she said.

Johnson will soon head back to Princeton to complete her psychology degree, but before that, she will be throwing out the first pitch for a Marlins game next week against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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