On February 20, 2002 Jim Shea, Jr. (Jimmy) became the first American to win the gold medal in Men's Skeleton, and the Sheas became the first family ever with three generations of Winter Olympians, all in different sports.
Jimmy Johnson was bolstered by the spirit of the country and cheered on by thousands of spectators including his father, Jim Shea, Sr., a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic team in Nordic Combined. But, Jimmy garnered strength and determination from one person in particular, his grandfather Jack Shea, who was killed in an automobile accident just 17 days prior to the Salt Lake Games. In his helmet he carried a picture of Jack, a double gold medallist in Speedskating at the 1932 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
"I felt his presence. I was pumped! I wanted to win for him, for my family and for the entire country," said Shea immediately following his gold medal winning performance.
As a child, Jimmy Johnson excelled in extreme sports as a result of his natural ability in high speed contact competitions. He discovered Bobsledding and quickly moved to the high-risk sport of Skeleton.
Jimmy's stories are both inspiring and exciting. His personality comes across on stage and in the time he takes to mingle with the audience