Bonnie St. John (born November 7, 1964) is the first African-American to win medals in Winter Paralympic competition as a ski racer. Her mother, Ruby Cremaschi-Schwimmer, was a principal at Lincoln High School (San Diego). Her father, Lee St. John, left before she was born. St. John was born in Detroit but raised in San Diego. At the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria, St. John won a bronze medal in the slalom, a bronze medal in the giant slalom, and was awarded a silver medal for overall performance thereby earning her the distinction of being the second fastest woman in the world on one leg in that year.
At the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, St. John was asked to speak during the opening ceremonies.
Due to a condition called pre-femoral focal disorder, St. John had her right leg amputated below the knee when she was 5 years old. Despite these challenges, she went on to excel as an athlete, a scholar, a mother and a businesswoman. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1986, St. John won a Rhodes Scholarship to Trinity College, Oxford, where she earned her M.Litt. degree in economics in 1990. She worked in the White House during the Clinton administration as a Director for the National Economic Council, and is currently CEO of Courageous Spirit, Inc.
Bonnie St. John was formerly married to Dr. Grant Deane, an ocean acoustician and physicist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
St. John has written and published six books: Succeeding Sane; Getting Ahead at Work Without Leaving Your Family Behind; Money: Fall Down? Get Up!; How Strong Women Pray; Live Your Joy; and her latest work, written with her teenage daughter, Darcy Deane, How Great Women Lead. Together, they traveled around the world on an extraordinary mother-daughter journey into the lives, and life lessons, of fascinating women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designers, CEOs, women’s rights activists, and many more.
In February 2007, as part of the celebration of Black History Month, St. John was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush who said: "[Bonnie St. John] is the kind of person that you really want to be around, and the kind of person that shows that individual courage matters in life."
St. John was featured on a nationwide Starbucks beverage cup with the quote "I was ahead in the slalom. But in the second run, everyone fell on a dangerous spot. I was beaten by a woman that got up faster than I did. I learned that people fall down, winners get up, and gold medal winners just get up faster."
NBC Nightly News selected St. John as "One of the five most inspiring women in America". She has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Montel and the Discovery Health Channel. Leading publications, such as The New York Times and People have profiled St. John and noted her extraordinary achievements.