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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Welcome back Emil.@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.