“You’re on an absolute pinnacle and you’re totally immersed in the stories of these athletes and what they do,” says Johanna, who is thrilled that the 2022 Games will offer the biggest Parasport program yet.
“There will be something for everyone to rejoice in…especially sports that people may not be so familiar with like lawn bowling, judo, boxing, weightlifting and table tennis. Realistically, we have about 200 medal chances.
“When you go offline, you’re on cloud nine… We love seeing Aussies succeed on the world stage.”
Although she may have hung up her glasses nearly three decades ago, Johanna still has her eyes on who’s splashing in the pool. This year, she is thrilled to see pop singer Cody Simpson make his debut.
“Cody is definitely the real deal. He gave absolutely everything and physically you see how fantastically fit he is,” says Johanna.
“He’s really finding his groove and it’s a great story to watch. People underestimate him. I have a lot of admiration for what he’s been able to do.”
A devoted mother to sons Jesse, 26, and Joe, 25, family is everything to Johanna.
When not busy at the Games or filming Better Homes and Gardens, she can be found entertaining loved ones at the rural NSW Hunter Valley farmhouse she shares with husband Todd Huggins.
You can bet she’s also obsessed with her adorable 4-year-old grandson, Jax.
“He’s gorgeous,” beams Johanna, who loves spending hours building LEGOs with Jax or snuggle up for a movie on the couch.
But when it comes to watching nanna on TV ‒ or ‘Joh-Nanna’ as she’s been nicknamed ‒ if it’s not Peppa Pig or Madagascar, little Jax isn’t interested!
“He doesn’t even remotely know that I’m on TV,” laughs Johanna, who reveals that no of her family watches her on TV!
“My family…they’re incredibly supportive, but that’s never been their thing.
“I sometimes ask my husband to look at an amazing house from Better Homes and Gardens but…they don’t sit down and watch everything – that would be a form of slow torture!”
When asked if her boys had ever wanted to take up competitive swimming themselves, Johanna said there was “no way!”. In fact, they didn’t even know their mother was a champion swimmer until high school!
“They didn’t even think about my career until I was a teenager…I think Joe was in 7th grade,” she recalled. “I was not a swimmer for them; I was just mom!
Due to celebrate her 50th birthday next year, the accomplished TV star admits she doesn’t have big plans.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” says Johanna, happy to live one day at a time.
WATCH BELOW: Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson perform Kylie’s “Rise and Shine”