Cha’iel Johnson is an elite middle distance runner in the youth track and field world. Athletic excellence is no stranger to the Johnson Family. Cha’iel’s father, Chad Johnson, is one of the most prolific Wide Receivers in NFL history, playing in six Pro Bowls throughout his illustrious career. Now retired, Chad is passing the torch to his 12 year-old daughter Cha’iel who is making a name for herself in a different sport, track & field.
Come August, Cha’iel is scheduled to run in the 200m, 400m, and 800m at the AAU Junior Olympics, a competition she is very familiar with. In the 2015 AAU Junior Olympics Cha’iel championed the 400m with a time of 1:01.57 and the following year she championed the 800m, finishing in 2:19.60. Cha’iel is looking to continue her success this year, as she is now the number one ranked 12 year old in the country for the 800m race.
In addition to the 800m, Darius Lawshea, Cha’iel’s coach of three years, has plans for Cha’iel to compete in the 1500m in the near future. Lawshea told Mile Split USA that Cha’iel’s combination of natural talent and industrious training mentality give her “...the potential to break a record every time she steps on the track.” Although Cha’iel is only 12 years old, her coach says she prepares for competition like nobody he has seen before. “She trains like she knows she's the best...she takes training like a grown person. [But] when it’s all over, she knows how to be a kid too.”
Chad and Cha’iel success in their respective sports has been made possible by their shared competitive edge, but they also believe in fair play. This was made evident by an unforeseen charitable donation made by Chad to Turbo Track Club, a Baltimore based track team, that qualified for the upcoming Junior Olympics but could not afford to travel to the competition. The Johnsons donated $2,200 dollars to the team’s GoFundMe page that only required $700 more to reach their goal of $5,000.
Thanks to Chad the Turbo Track Club will be able to travel to Kansas to compete against his daughter Cha’iel, who is happy to vie with any and all challengers who come her way.
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