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Lehi senior couple gleans athletic awards



Lehi residents Eric and Terah Johnson were recognized as Male and Female Amateur Athletes of the Year at the Best of State Awards Gala on May 24 at the Salt Palace Convention Center Grand Ballroom in Salt Lake City.

It’s a repeat award for the pair, who also received this honor in 2022. The Johnsons think they are the only couple to receive these awards together. Eric has a long history in master’s-level competition, but Terah only started three years ago at his urging.

“We went to third grade together in Provo and then reunited 52 years later,” Eric said. “We have been married almost three years now.”

Eric competed in football, cross country and track at Provo High School and was a member of the Bulldog state champion teams in the latter two disciplines in 1976. He went on to a collegiatecareer at BYU and ran sprints there, competing in the 60 meters,100m, 200m and 400-meter relay.

Terah grew up in Utah, Texas and Alabama. She was a dancer and competed on the Drill Team in high school.

“She was still so fit when we met again that I talked her into trying track and field and road racing,” Eric said. “She was a natural and became a USATF All-America recipient in five different events.” Terah competes in the long jump, triple jump, high jump, javelin and 5000-meter road race.

At the World Senior Games held annually in St. George, Terah has competed in those same field events along with the standing long jump. She has won nearly 100 medals since 2021 in the 60-64 age group, which Eric is in on the men’s side as well. He’s his wife’s official coach.


For him, the reboot story goes back a lot farther. “I began training and competing again at age 40 because I felt I had some unfinished business as a track and field athlete,” he said.

Eric moved to California after college. He eventually found a place with the SoCal Track Club in southern California and was a member of six of their national championship teams. The group welcomes competitors of all ages.

Events Eric has participated in since restarting his competition career include racewalking, sprinting, hurdling, 1500m, 5000m, javelin, triple jump and shot put. All told, he has collected nearly 2300 medals, 300 trophies and 62 USATF All-America honors.

In addition, Eric is a veteran actor who has appeared in 14 movies, one television series (Northern Exposure) and 50 television commercials. He was hired to be the stand-in double for Tom Hanks in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. During the filming, they spent four months working together.

“That’s one of my claims to fame,” Eric said. Acting wasn’t his primary profession though. Eric is a recreational therapist and state-certified correctional officer for the Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City, working specifically with mentally Ill Inmates assigned to medium or maximum security.

Terah is the fishing manager of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Saratoga Springs. “My favorite things about competing aretraveling and making new memories and friends,” she said.

Eric’s response is similar. “I especially enjoy winning world titles, making new friends and competing with my wife,” he said. “We’re living proof that you can do anything at any age.”

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