Shawn Machel Johson is another interesting gymnast who is the 2008 Olympic women’s balance beam gold medalist, and the individual all-around silver medalist. Not only that, but she was the 2007, all-around World Champion. She was also awarded as the all-around World Champion in 2007, and the 2007 and 2008 United States all-around champion. She has been on a Nationals Team since 2004.
Johnson was born in West Des Moines, Iowa, January 19, 1992. Her parents are Teri and Doug Johnson. Her parents decided to enroll her in gymnastics at age three, when she was noticed climbing tables and cabinets, and then jumping down. She was just six years old when she became one of the first students at Liang Chow gymnastics school in Des Moines.
She goes to school at Valley High School, and entered the 2008 school year as a junior. She is different somewhat from other gymnasts, who train around 40 hours per week with private tutors. Johnson, unlike most attends public school and trains 20-25 hours a week. She is currently listed on the “A” Honor Roll and participates in several extra-curricular activities. Valley High School is a three-year high school, where freshmen attend a their own separate school, called Valley Southwoods (one of the only two 9th grade schools in the entire nation=smart!). The high school is known throughout the state as being recognized for their strong athletics program. The school was noted by the Des Moines Register in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 as the top 4A school for athletics. This school also insists upon 100% student participation in extra school activities.
Shawn Johnson first attracted attention at the 2005 United States Classic, placing third in the junior division. Her first attempt qualified her for the Junior Elite status. She was noted as having a struggle in 2005 United States Championships, where she fell from the beam and to the floor. That placed her tenth in the all-around competition,
She went on to win the 2006 U.S. National All-Around Championship with a score that was higher than any of the senior elite competitors for the entire year. Her training was paying beginning to really pay off.
In 2007, during her senior career, Johnson entered the senior elites and arrived armed with new skills. She was in the 2007 Tyson American Cup, and won the all-around title, over her then roomate, Natasha Kelley. Johnson was also a part of the 2007 Pan American Games, where she won not one, but four gold medals in the team finals. Awards included the balance beam, uneven bar finals, and the individual all-around, she also won the silver in the floor exercise.
Those representing the United States at the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships were Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Shayla Worley, Alicia Sacramone, Ivana Hong, and Samantha Peszek. Shawn competed on all four apparatuses for the team. This group won the team competition with a score totaling 184,400 points. This score put them 0.950 points ahead of the Chinese team who received the silver.
It was 2008 at the Summer Olympics, when Johnson competed in all four events during the team competition, and the United States brought home the silver medal. Johnson’s roomate brought home the gold medal, with a score of 63.325. This was the first time that any the United States has won both silver and gold medals in in the individual all-around competition; and the fourth time any country won both gold and silver. Johnson also won the silver medal in floor exercise, her roomate Liukin, taking the bronze. Though she won a gold medal on the blance beam. Liukin and Johnson took two more tops medals in this events as well.
Johnson’s hometown ran a Tv ad during and before the Olympics that featured Johnson. The grocery chain Hy-Vee were in charge of this. Johnson has since appeared in talk shows like The Today Show on NBC, CCTV, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Live with Regis and Kelley. Her and her fellow Olympians, all appeared on the season premiere of Oprah, September 8, 2008.
In August 28, 2008, Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention. Her agent had previously reported that Shawn would be on the cover of Wheaties, but it is said to not have worked out. Cheerios is set to use Johnson’s likeness in a limited edition in January of 2009.
Shawn Johnson also appeared in a cameo role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager season finale. She was also a member of The Tour of Gymnastic Superstars, from September-November in 2008. Show tapings aired October 12, 2008, the special also features singer like Cyndi Lauper, Carole King, Kenny Loggins, and Jesse McCartney.
If you are a fan don’t forget to check out Shawn’s official website at www.ShawnJohnson.net