AFSOON: New book chronicles incredible story of first US women's medalist

Afsoon Roshanzamir Johnston with Haley Augello and Terry Steiner at the Rio Olympics (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Imagine growing up in Iran, taking a huge risk to flee the country with your family and eventually becoming an American success story.

Afsoon Roshanzamir Johnston can.

She lived it and now her remarkable story is chronicled in her new book "AFSOON" that is receiving excellent reviews in the U.S. and beyond.

Afsoon grew up during a dangerous and tumultuous time in Iran in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The country had experienced a revolution, the Iran-Iraq war was taking place and Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran.

She was forced to chant "Marg Bar Amrika" while stomping on American flags each morning at her school. That translated to "Death to America." She and her fellow students had to watch as USA flags were often burned in front of them.

Afsoon spent many terrifying nights huddled in the family's basement in Iran while Iraqi war planes dropped bombs in Tehran. A girl she had sat next to in class was killed by a bomb in the classmate's home.

Her parents, who didn't support the Islamic rule in Iran, made the bold and risky decision to leave Iran in the early 1980s when Afsoon was 11 years old.

They eventually made it to the Untied States, but had to start over in a country where they didn't speak the language and didn't have any money.

Afsoon struggled in her early years while being taunted by classmates for her Iranian heritage. She eventually found wrestling, a sport her father had competed in.

She eventually joined an all-boys wrestling team at her high school in California, failing to win a match her first season. Afsoon stuck with it and eventually became successful in the sport. Five years after leaving Iran for the U.S., she became the first American woman to medal at the World Championships in 1989.

Afsoon Roshanzamir Johnston
Afsoon followed by capturing another world medal for Team USA a year later. She made five U.S. world teams and competed on the Senior level for more than a decade before retiring to start a family.

She became much more involved in the sport again during the 2013 fight to keep wrestling in the Olympics. A year later, she served as the U.S. World Team Coach in Uzbekistan.

Afsoon realized a lifelong dream of making it to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. The girl who grew up in a country where she wasn't allowed to wrestle became a U.S. Olympic Team Coach for women's wrestling in 2016.

Afsoon's book is available now and you can check out her remarkable story at


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MikeGrand (1) about 1 year ago
These are great books, I'm sure. I read Afsoon it is excellent. I just recently thought that I would like to see at least one interview where you give answers to popular questions about the book. Or maybe there is a detailed review with criticism somewhere? Contact the literary blogger for a detailed short review of the book and interview the author for her blog. It's just that there is nothing on the net for the fans, it would be nice to have such a review