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Emil Johansson Rises To The Occasion at Crankworx Whistler

Dec 18, 2018
by Industry Nine  

Emil Johansson had a breakout season in 2016 making his mark at Red Bull Joyride. He rose to the top and won the 2017 FMB World Tour, blowing minds and taking podiums amongst the best riders in the world, while oozing style and big technical combos. Not only that, but he pushed the progression of what is possible on a bike. Over a year ago, Emil was diagnosed with a congenital 6th lumbar vertebrae defect, which is something he was born with. This past July, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which left him unsure about what the future would hold, let alone whether he would be able to ride again. He showed up to Crankworx Whistler, the biggest event of the year, having hardly ridden beforehand, and he overcame something bigger than the 4th place run he put together.

Crankworx Joyride

Coming back at the biggest slopestyle event of the year was no small feat. When he was boarding his flight to Canada, he didn’t think he was going to be able to ride during the week at all. After having spent so much time off of the bike, the pressure of performing wasn’t the biggest hurdle he got through, it was the recovery process months before and how it was affecting him. It had been a long, slow, and arduous journey for Emil to be on the upswing and to even be considering tackling this event.

bigquotesAt first I started having back pain and then during that time later down the road I also started having issues with my immune system where I would get sick all the time, leading me to not being able to rehab and train properly, which is what I needed to do to get back on the bike ASAP. In Sweden, I was unable to find the right help to get my body fit and strong again, so I ended up in Munich where I have been fortunate enough to be able to get really, really good help, both for my back problems as well as for my immune system problems. In July I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which, in my case, is located in my thyroid gland and affects my whole immune system.”

Crankworx Joyride
Crankworx Joyride

Until July, Emil spent 50% of the year being sick, jumping back and forth between okay and sickness every other week. Now his immune system is steadier and he is able to start pushing himself more.

bigquotes“The more I push, the better my body recovers and answers to the supplements and medication. To be honest when you say come back strong that is not how I felt in Whistler. Due to the sickness, I was only able to spend 3 hours on the bike during the weeks before Red Bull Joyride and was only at the gym for a few hours in total during that period as well.”

Crankworx Joyride
Rusty riding from Emil early on in the week– 360 barspin to late downside tailwhip – ....

Having gone from the highest of highs at the end of 2017, with a stellar season, winning multiple contests and the FMB World Tour overall, to the unexpected year he has had in 2018, Emil rode like everything he had been through didn't matter. All week during practice he was throwing massive combinations, riding the entirety of every practice session. It was clear to see it felt good and he was having fun. Not having ridden in any contests this season, he was one of the first riders to go during finals and was definitely one of the crowd favorites. All eyes were on Emil as he rolled down the boardwalk start toward the drop, and up on the big screens before he got into view. Then, it was nothing but smooth...

Crankworx Joyride 2018
Turning heads as he dropped in on his first run

Despite the pressure of a ski slope filled with upwards of 35,000 people and having waited all week to tie a top to bottom run together, he was making it seem effortless - flawless. He hadn't skipped a beat from where he left off, linking up technical combinations the entire way down. At the bottom, once he landed that drop, you could feel the emotion building throughout the crowd. You could see it in Emil.

bigquotes”So many emotions came out at once and I just could not hold myself back. After all that I have gone through this year, I kind of proved myself wrong with that run and showed myself that I am still able to perform even though I spent so much time off the bike.”

Crankworx Joyride
360 one footed can off the final drop during Finals

Entering the finish corral, everyone was stunned. The announcers couldn’t believe it, the crowd couldn’t believe it, you could see, Emil was even more blown away.

bigquotes”I have been through so much this past year and there were times when I imagined myself never riding a bike again. Waking up to pain for so long... just pushing through it as much as I possibly could. Finishing that run meant the world to me! It’s been a huge goal for me to just get back on the bike, but then to get back and be able to pull off a run without any slip-ups is even bigger...I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I have come such a long way from where I was back in January.”

Crankworx Joyride
Crankworx Joyride
Run after run during practice linking up big technical combo's

Emil has overcome something that most of us can’t grasp. We can read about it and comprehend it, but we may never be able to fully understand how monumental that feeling, that feat, was. One thing is for sure, he has shown us that even in the face of adversity, your passion can allow you to do the unthinkable. His drive dictates his reality, which no doubt is a big part of why he’s kicking ass at life.

bigquotes”My advice for people going through some hard times would be to really trust the process and really make sure they try to benefit from the hard times and learn how to understand and deal with their problems!”

Welcome back Emil.

Crankworx Whistler
Backflip barspin to tuck no hander during the evening practice session

@johanssoemil @IndustryNine @BurkeLawrence.Photo

If you were previously unaware of what Emil has been going through, here is a quick run down from Emil prior to the event at Crankworx.

MENTIONS: @IndustryNineOfficial

Author Info:
IndustryNineOfficial avatar

Member since Jun 11, 2015
44 articles

  • 9 0
 This was my favorite part of all of Crankworx this year. When I saw him stomp that run and bunnyhop through the finish line it made me tear up as well! What an absolute champion, really looking forward to seeing him ride more again.
  • 6 0
 Truly an amazing story. I was actually unaware of the entire background on this. When I heard Cam say he’d been off the bike for 10 months I’d assumed it was due to an ortho injury, and that he’d been doing rehab. Had no idea he was battling a congenital defect, and an autoimmune disease which can be some of the toughest things to combat. Autoimmune diseases take constant vigilance to keep under control. Even thenthe results are iffy at best. Big kudos to you Emil. You’re a truly gifted rider.
  • 7 0
 He's shown a lot of heart over and over again. I wish him all the best in the future Salute
  • 4 0
 I'd love to see him and Semenuk do the full season next year. Those two with Rogatkin and Rheeder would make for a very exciting season of Slopestyle. Otherwise we're looking at essentially an event to even judges preference. Do they like the big spins of Rogatkin or the tech, style and amplitude of Rheeder. The rest of the pack is getting there... but not quite there yet.
  • 6 0
 really happy hes getting properly recognized for this. was absolutely unbelivable!
  • 3 0
 When he crosses the line and you could litterly hear a pin drop on the mountain shows how unexpected the level of his run was and let alone place so well. It wasn't by about a competition at that point. It was about a rider fighting the toughest battles of his young life to do what he is passionate about possibly for the last time on that level. It was a remarkable sight of empathy and compassion from the crowd for a beloved rider. There wasn't many dry eyes in that crowd and it wasnt because of the smoke. Yeah mountain biking can be a pretty testosterone filled shitshow, with tuff as fuck homies at the best of times. It's one of it enduring qualities. But we are also a global community and the way we honor those who have fallen or the way we rally for those who need the support is unmatched by any other community. Emil's story is a testament to that. I've said it a million times before the MTV community is the best community. I hope we see more of Emil in the future and his health issues stabilize so he can lead a comfortable life. Weather he rides on this level again or not. Cheers bud!
  • 8 2
 i was hoping for an emil edit with this.
  • 5 0
 That should be called a blackmetalflip- so sick
  • 2 2
 so with an auto immune disease combined with a disc defect, whats the prognosis for the future with this kid? is he going to be up and down from time to time or have docs squared away treatment and should he go onto live a relatively normal life now?
  • 2 0
 Hopefully he just stays on the up. His style is so smooth and awesome to watch. I think he might even be smoother than Semenuk.
  • 2 0
 what a fucking G!!!!!

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