Kathy Johnson Clarke Through the Ages

Kathy Johnson Clarke has been the voice of SEC gymnastics, alongside Bart Conner, for nearly a decade now. She has been covering gymnastics since women joined the NCAA in 1983 and spent many years covering elite as well. Before that, Johnson Clarke was a member of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams and competed at four world championships. She also competed for Centenary College and led her team to the AIAW title in 1978. Johnson Clarke goes down in the history book as the first American woman to win an individual medal in Olympic and world championship competition, and she goes down in our hearts as a beloved member of the college gymnastics world.

A passionate, incredibly knowledgeable commentator, Johnson Clarke’s love of the sport shines through her work. “Across the board, NCAA gymnastics is pure brilliance. It’s wonderful, it’s a great show,” she said. Thanks for making Friday Night Heights so much fun, KJC. May we have you for years to come.

1978

She was competing internationally as well as for Centenary College at this point.

1979

Is it just us, or does dropping down to the low bar like that look terrifying?

1980

Tsuking her way to the Olympics.

1981

Ahead of her time, working that dance directly into acro.

1982

That double pike would do nicely in college today.

1983

She’s been with us since the very beginning of NCAA women’s gymnastics competition.

1984

Those Christmas microphones, though.

BONUS: She was a little busy this year.

1987

That is some big hair!

1989

We’re trying to look at our queen but we can’t tear our eyes away from those giant Gs.

1990

A much sleeker look to herald in the ’90s.

1991

The hair bow. The color coordination. Amazing.

1993

Rocking that red blazer.

1994

Bart and Kathy go waaaay back, and they started in elite.

1995

The hands. Such expression.

2010

After a hiatus (at least as far as we can tell from YouTube), she’s BACK in the NCAA! Looks like the Bart and Kathy SEC dream team got together in 2010.

2011

Even standing next to a 10-time national champion coach, KJC reigns supreme.

2012

Can we have her give us motivational messages each day?

2013

TBH, we wish we had her fashion sense.

2014

Life goal: be interviewed by KJC.

2015

See, even Bart can’t hold his smile back when talking to her.

2016

We think KJC is actually Benjamin Buttoning us because she looks better with each year.

2017

A gem for 40 years. A true queen.

2018

What would we do without her?

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Article by Emily Minehart and Elizabeth Grimsley

3 comments

  1. Hi Kathy,
    Hope you remember me, was looking over your career and remembering how it all started, and how hard you worked at A. S. G Atlanta to perfect every move, every expression, and every placement of every body part…. you’re a true perfectionist who accomplished a dream that cost some of us everything. People forget how dangerous gymnastics is, and the dedication that it takes to make it look easy and effortless. I often think you, and Kevin Davis, Johnny O’Connor and the rest. If it wasn’t for your dance and ballet instructions, our mens team (A. S. G, Gymnats) would have never taken Nationals and become the best team in the nation, at that time anyways. You made ballet an integral, and necessary part of gymnastics for both men and women. It forever changed the sport, and gave it an artform that was certainly missing in men’s gymnastics. I often think of you and Maryland Cook (Mom Cook) as great influences in my life…. I have greatly missed you both and wanted to thank you for being there when I was in the hospital. I am so pleased that all your hard work and dedication has given you a fantastic life and you have been, and still are, an inspiration to me. Thank you Kathy, you inspired me in ways that forever changed my life for the better and I’ll never forget you!!!

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