Click the play button above to listen to Bonnie St. John talk about her incredible life story with her husband, Allen Haines.

Bonnie St. John and Allen Haines


It was one fall during high school that a friend invited Bonnie St. John to go on a family ski trip. St. John was excited about the opportunity, but was apprehensive at the same time. Her right leg had been amputated at age 5 because of a birth defect and she had never been skiing. She also lacked the proper equipment for a one-legged skier and in the late 1970s, that equipment was not easy to find.

St. John, though, showed remarkable perseverance. She located equipment and went on that ski trip. She worked hard to improve as a skier, traveled to the national ski championships for people with disability and then attended a Vermont prep school that specialized in developing world-class skiers.

A few years later, St. John earned a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team and competed at the Innsbruck 1984 Paralympic Winter Games, winning one silver medal and two bronze.

Following her skiing career, St. John graduated from Harvard University, became a Rhodes Scholar and worked in the White House National Economic Council under President Clinton. She then began a career as a public speaker started her own leadership company.

A Native American from tiny Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Billy Mills surged down the stretch to win the 10,000-meter run at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history.
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