“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Noted as one of the top all-around collegiate gymnasts in the nation, Kiya Johnson has been a star since arriving at LSU. After her freshman year which garnered her awards including being named 2020 SEC Freshman Year and All-SEC, Johnson followed that up by starring in the 2021 campaign as well. Having earned eight All-American honors throughout her career with the Tigers, Johnson says that keeping faith first has remained a priority.
A native of the Dallas area, Johnson grew up with faith being a focus. She says that her parents always made sure it was a priority and that played a key role in shaping her into who she is today. Since arriving at LSU, she says her faith has continued to grow more than ever before. “Faith has always been a part of my life ever since I was little. I took it upon myself to grow and deepen faith when I got to college, and it has been the best decision. Navigating through college athletics and having a community to go to and grow in faith together has been amazing!” Strengthened by a community of love and support, Johnson has become one of the top gymnasts in the country. She says her biggest goal is to use her gifts as an opportunity to impact and better those around her.
Coming off an impressive rookie season with LSU, Johnson was focused on carrying that success into 2021. As she prepared for the season, faith remained pivotal in keeping her grounded and focused. “I like to think my faith and gymnastics influence each other! Knowing that I compete for something and someone bigger than myself, makes the pressure of being a college gymnast go away.” She says removing that pressure allows her to go out for the Tigers with poise and confidence knowing God is in control and she can just compete in the sport she loves. “Gymnastics is an outlet for me to let God’s light and love shine through myself while I’m competing.” Now having wrapped up her sophomore year for the Tigers, she anticipates the second half of her college career and the chance to be a mentor to younger athletes and teammates alike.
Although Johnson has had a wonderful start to her career at LSU, it has come with its challenges. As she has navigated the COVID-altered season and adjusted along with her team to stay focused even when things may not be clear, she says her faith is a reminder that God is still in control. “My faith helps in reassuring me that God has me no matter what. He has a plan greater than mine, so at all times good or bad I trust him.” That mindset has allowed Kiya to alleviate many of the doubts or worries that come at her and instead approach each event with confidence and joy. Whether she performs well or not, she knows her identity doesn’t rest in the game.
Kiya has always been a staple of passion and energy throughout her time in gymnastics. Now with the Tigers, she is looking to translate her talent into an opportunity to impact the lives of those around her. Beloved by many for not only her skills in gymnastics but for her heart and her love for others, Johnson quickly has become a fan and team favorite. She says she treasures every opportunity she gets to play the sport she loves and inspire anyone who might be watching.
*Photos in article courtesy of Kiya Johnson