movie – “Lefty” starring Carol Johnston

Update 2010 – the movie is posted on YouTube.

johnston_book.jpgI trained and hung out with amazing Carol back in the day at Altadore Gymnastics Club in Calgary.

Old-timers will have seen the Disney film Lefty, a documentary of her rise to All-American NCAA champion while competing for Cal State Fullerton.

In her freshman season she became the conference beam champion.

In her sophomore year she won beam and placed third in floor exercise at her school's conference championships. She and her teammates traveled to Seattle, Washington for the NCAA Championships. Placing second on beam and floor, she earned All-American honours.

Carol's determination and accomplishments caught the eye of the Walt Disney company. You see, Carol had been born with only one arm. Borrowing a nickname friends had coined for Carol, the inspirational documentary "Lefty" was released.

The documentary details Carol's 1978-1979 NCAA Season. Determined to win gold at the 1979 NCAAs, Carol trained her hardest that season. Fate took a nasty turn however, and she tore her right ACL while warming up for a UCLA vs Cal State meet. The injury was devastating, but provided Carol with insight, "Now I really know what handicapped is." Whatever happened to Carol Johnston?

Movie – Lefty.


#1 Mieka on 01.07.07 at 1:55 am

I’m sorry I can’t help you, but this was my favorite movie as a child, and I am desperately looking for it as well. If you’ve found out where to get a copy, please share! Thank you.

#2 Angela Reynolds on 03.21.07 at 10:08 am

I too would like to see the film “Lefty” I have a 9 year old daughter born with half an arm and is a lefty like Carol. She is starting gymnastics and we would like her to see what Carol could do. At the gym where she takes classes, there is an instructor who competeted against Caorl and remembers how awsome of a gymnist she was. She gave my daughter the book about Carol. We were grateful to know about her and want to see her perform. Good luck to us in our search. Thank you.

#3 coach Rick on 03.21.07 at 4:34 pm

The only copy I have heard about is in Perth, Australia.

I will try to get them to make me a copy. And will update this blog post if I get my hands on it.

Rick McCharles, Calgary, editor

#4 Mindy on 04.03.07 at 7:17 pm

I would love to know if you find out where we can get the movie. I loved it as a child and have two daughters in gymnastics who should see how lucky they are!

#5 coach Rick on 04.03.07 at 9:55 pm

I expect to get a copy over the next couple of months and will post it via this website.

By the way, I heard a rumour this past weekend that Carol had just married.

#6 dani on 04.08.07 at 3:33 pm

I also would love a copy. I was a 12 year old gymnast at the time of the ncaa championships that were held at the university of washington. I watched in amazement of what Carol was capable of accomplishing. I was at that meet. Footage from the meet was used in the film. When I saw the movie, there I was (standing on the sidelines) watching in awe! I would love for my kids to see this film. Is there any way I could get a copy?

#7 Cindy Kewley on 10.25.07 at 1:00 pm

I am looking to buy a copy of the “Lefty” documentary. Do you know where I can get one to buy. It was one of my daughter’s favorite movies when she was little. Thanks for your help!!

#8 Tami Mitchell on 01.25.08 at 3:31 pm

We are having our annual mock meet Feb. 8th and I would like to have a competitive social after and show the movie Lefty.

Any luck in getting a copy.

Whistler BC, Canada

#9 Gymnastics Coaching » Blog Archive » one-armed surfer inspires on 01.27.08 at 12:05 am

[…] Reminds me of “Lefty”, Carol Johnston the gymnast. […]

#10 Krystle on 03.19.09 at 8:15 am

As a child I wrote a book report on her. Today I am in the field of physical education and I am looking for a copy of Lefty.

#11 Melanie Wolfe on 03.27.09 at 10:14 am

I too was inspired as a young gymnast – when i watched the movie lefty……..and have often told her story while being a coach and head coach. i have talked about the one arm gymnasts to my young athletes. For many years i believe the kids in the gym thought i made that up – when telling my new group of gymnasts about her…..they research her on the internet……(love this new age of technology)…….for i couldn’t remember her name, – I would love a copy of the movie…..if you have one ….
Kind regards
Melanie wolfe Cayuga Gym Club

#12 Adrienne Ceccacci on 03.30.09 at 10:02 pm

Please let me know how to see this documentary again, I’d love to buy it.

#13 Kelly on 10.14.09 at 7:44 am

I’m quite sure my parents still have the VHS my sister and I used to watch as kids. It is recorded off of TV, from the Wide World of Disney airing.

#14 Rose Bird on 12.28.09 at 12:31 pm

I too was inspired by Carol Johnston as a young gymnast. I would love to know where I can purchase a copy of this movie. I am sad to see that nobody knows where to find it yet:(

#15 coach Rick on 12.28.09 at 12:37 pm

Sorry Rose. I still don’t know where to get a copy online.

#16 Elizabeth on 03.24.10 at 8:17 pm

Hi, my daughter is now doing gymnastics but does not have use of her left arm. I was hoping to show her the movie lefty for inspiration but wonder if anyone knows where to get a copy. Hope someone can help.

#17 ruby harrison on 04.27.10 at 10:15 am

My daughter loves gymnastics and would like to try to compete competitively but she is already 13 years old. Is she to old to begin training?

#18 coach Rick on 04.27.10 at 1:07 pm

It would difficult, ruby.

In competitive Artistic gymnastics. … Though there are some programs for older girls. At my gym we have “Demo Group” that trains for demonstrations. They also compete once or twice a season, for fun.

In many other disciplines, Trampoline sports, for example, she certainly could start at age-13.

Most critical for a late starting gymnast is height, weight, strength, and perhaps flexiblity. If she has genetic potential for acrobatic sports, she could improve quickly.

#19 Emma Marr on 05.22.10 at 10:16 am

Can I get a copy of the Lefty movie. I have been waiting for years for it to be released on dvd. I am prepared to pay if payment is needed.

#20 Emma Marr on 05.23.10 at 9:22 am

I found a site that shows some of lefty. It is Jim Thompson productions

#21 coach Rick on 05.23.10 at 10:57 am

Here Emma. Lefty posted on YouTube:

I’d still like to buy a higher quality original VHS or DVD, though.

#22 Emma Marr on 09.27.10 at 3:49 am

Thanks for the you tube of carol johnston. Thats great. Did Carol johnston get married or have children later on in life

#23 Suzanne on 10.08.10 at 10:23 am

I’m selling copies of “Lefty”. Pretty good quality, either on DVD or VHS. $20 each, including shipping. Email me if interested.

#24 Emma Marr on 10.24.10 at 5:07 am

How can I get in contact with you. I would like to get a dvd

#25 Kara Seres on 11.04.10 at 1:21 am

im interested in a copy of lefty. is there any possible way of getting one to me? thanks kara

#26 Jon on 04.05.11 at 12:11 pm

interested in copy of lefty – let me know if possible….

#27 Hilde on 03.18.12 at 9:43 am


I’m very interested in buying a copy of Lefty and also of Little girls in pretty boxes. Anyone know where I gan get these?

#28 kara on 05.13.13 at 4:09 am

Hello I was just wondering if you had any copies left of “lefty”.
Thanks kara

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