Former Olympic downhill champ Bill Johnson dies at age of 55

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) Bill Johnson, the first American skier to win an Olympic downhill title, has died after a long illness, the U.S. ski team said Friday. He was 55.

Megan Harrod, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Alpine team, said Johnson died Thursday at an assisted living facility in Gresham, Oregon.

Johnson's health had been on the decline for several years after a series of strokes.

Johnson won the downhill at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, the first American skier to capture gold in Alpine skiing's marquee event.

He tried to make a comeback ahead of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics but was badly injured in a downhill training run in 2001, sustaining a traumatic brain injury.