From Philly to Tokyo

From Philly to Tokyo: Water Polo Star Ashleigh Johnson Eyes Another Gold Medal

Johnson is the first Black woman to make an U.S. Olympic water polo team, which she sees as a special opportunity to serve as a role model for young Black kids

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Trailblazing water polo goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson is competing in her second Olympics after winning gold in Rio in 2016.

Johnson is the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic team, which she sees as a special opportunity to serve as a role model for young Black kids.

She graduated from Princeton University in 2017 with a number of accolades. At only 26 years old, she is one of the best goal keepers in the world.


Johnson and her sister both attended college at Princeton University, where they played together on the water polo team.

Johnson graduated from Princeton in 2017 with a bachelor's in psychology. She finished her college career as Princeton's all-time leader in saves with 100 career victories. Johnson was picked as All-American in each of her four seasons.

Before Princeton, she attended Ransom Everglades High School in Miami, where she was a four-year letter winner and starter.

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The U.S. women's water polo team is currently the defending Olympic champion, making them the team to beat in Tokyo. Eight out of the 13 athletes nominated to represent Team USA have competed in the Olympics before.

The U.S. women's water polo team plays their first match against Japan on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. JST in Tokyo (1 a.m. EDT).

We all know you are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, but how does water polo work? Team USA goalie Ashleigh Johnson explains her sport using Legos.


Johnson helped lead Team USA to gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics, logging 51 saves.


Johnson won gold in the 2019 and 2015 women's water polo world championships.

Family Life

Johnson has a very close relationship with her mom Donna and her four siblings. She said the highlight of winning gold in Tokyo was seeing her family cheering her on from the stands.

Her gold medal from Rio stays at her mom's house in a case with all of her and her siblings' participation swim ribbons from their childhood.


Adam Krikorian coaches the U.S. women's water polo team.


Johnson is sponsored by JOLYN, a swimwear brand for female athletes.

Important Causes

After the 2016 Olympics, Johnson and her sister established the Learn to Swim program in Miami to teach children how to swim and introduce them to water polo.

The goal of the program is to address the disparity between white children and Black children in drownings, as well as to dismantle the stereotype that Black people don't swim.

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