CELEBRITY

Johanna Griggs LOVES being a grandmother

Winning gold is nothing compared to family.
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After months of anticipation and preparation, Johanna Griggs is brimming with excitement now that the 2022 Commonwealth Games are finally here. 

WATCH BELOW: Johanna and Ed go kayaking

Having won a bronze medal at the 1990 Auckland Games before joining the Channel 7 hosting team, Johanna knows all too well the pressure our superstar athletes are under as they compete in Birmingham. Her advice to them? Enjoy every moment!

“I was the second youngest on the swim team. I still have the best memories of that time and it was just so much fun,” Johanna, 48, recalls.

“Sometimes it worries me when I see some athletes get so bogged down with the weight of the world and they put pressure on themselves … I had a great coach and great family who were all about making sure that I enjoyed it.”

Speaking to New Idea ahead of this week’s opening ceremony, the sports commentator says she’ll never tire of the buzz she gets covering the highs and lows of the Games.  

Joh Griggs at the 1990 Commonwealth Games
Joh won a bronze medal at the 1990 Auckland Games (Credit: Getty)

Golden moment

“You’re on an absolute high and get totally immersed in these athletes’ stories and what they’re doing,” says Johanna, who is thrilled that the 2022 Games boast the largest para sports program ever. 

“There’s going to be something for everyone to cheer about … especially the sports that people maybe don’t know so much about like lawn bowls, judo, boxing, weightlifting and table tennis. Realistically, we have about 200 medal chances.

“When you sign off, you’re on cloud nine … We just love to see Australians do well on a world stage.”

While she may have hung up her goggles almost three decades ago, Johanna always has her eyes on who is making a splash in the pool. This year, she’s thrilled to see pop singer Cody Simpson make his debut.

“Cody’s definitely the real deal. He has absolutely given his all and you just see physically how fantastic of a shape he’s in,” says Johanna. 

“He’s really finding his groove and he’s a great story to watch. People underestimate him. I have a lot of admiration for what he’s been able to do.”

JG and family
Family comes first! (Credit: Instagram)

Family first

A devoted mum to sons Jesse, 26, and Joe, 25, family is everything for Johanna. 

When she’s not busy at the Games or filming Better Homes and Gardens, she can be found entertaining her nearest and dearest at the rural farm in the NSW Hunter Valley she shares with husband Todd Huggins. 

You can bet she’s also doting on her adorable 4-year-old grandson Jax.

Nanna duty

“He’s gorgeous,” beams Johanna, who loves spending hours building LEGO with Jax or snuggling up for a movie on the couch.  

But when it comes to watching nanna on television ‒ or ‘Joh-Nanna’ as she’s been dubbed ‒ if it’s not Peppa Pig or Madagascar, little Jax is not interested!

“He doesn’t even remotely know I’m on television,” laughs Johanna, who reveals that none of her family watches her on the telly!

“My family … they’re incredibly supportive, but it’s never been their thing. 

“I occasionally make my husband watch an amazing home from Better Homes and Gardens but … they don’t sit and watch everything ‒ that would be some form of slow torture!” 

Johanna and her grandson
Johanna loves spending hours building LEGO with Jax (Credit: Instagram)

Next chapter

When asked if her boys were ever keen to take up competitive swimming themselves, Johanna reveals there was “no chance!”. In fact, they didn’t even know their mum was a champion swimmer until high school!

“They really didn’t even work out about my career until they were in their teens … I think Joe was in Year 7,” she recalls. “I wasn’t a swimmer to them; I was just Mum!” 

Due to celebrate her 50th birthday next year, the accomplished television star admits she has no big plans.

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” says Johanna, content to take life one day at a time.

WATCH BELOW: Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson perform Kylie’s ‘Rise and Shine’ 

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