This past week, Olympic gold medalist, Shawn Johnson made a surprise appearance at the Athletic Arts Academy in Orange. The appearance gave the young athletes a chance to meet and get advice from a proven winner and champion who was once in their shoes just trying to accomplish their dreams.
Shawn Johnson is a Des Moines, Iowa native who began participating in gymnastics when she was enrolled in a class at the age of three after her parents noticed her climbing cabinets and jumping off tables. At the age of 12, Johnson participated in the Junior Olympics National Championships and placed fourth in the all-around after finishing first on the beam and second on the floor routine. She was not originally being scouted by the United States National team until Johnson’s coach, Liang Chow, sent the team a video and stated that “I believe this kid will help the U.S. Team.” In 2006, Johnson, as a junior elite, won the U.S. Junior National All-Around Championship with a score higher than any of senior elite competitors. When Johnson began her senior career in 2007 she began to rack up gold medals starting at the World Championships where she won the gold in the all-around and floor competitions alone, all while helping the U.S. team win the team gold. The following year the U.S. team and Johnson headed to the Olympics in Beijing where the team won the silver medal. Along with the silver in the team competition Johnson won the silver in the individual all-around finishing behind her teammate Nastia Liukin and another silver in the floor exercise competition. It wasn’t all silver medals for Johnson however when she broke through and won the gold medal in the balance beam finishing just ahead of her teammate Liukin as well. In 2009 Johnson took her talents to a new competition when she competed on the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars and ultimately won the competition with professional dancer, Mark Ballas. In 2012, Johnson returned to Dancing with the Stars for the all-star season and at the end of the season finished second.
This past week, Olympic gold medalist and Dancing with the Star’s champion Shawn Johnson made a surprise visit to the Athletic Academy in Orange. The appearance was a great opportunity for the young athletes to get advice from someone who made their dream a reality due in large fact to hard work and dedication. Johnson has said that part of her duty as an Olympian is to give back to the community and kids that want to accomplish the same and bigger dreams than she had.
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Watch Shawn Johnson on The Tonight Show with David Letterman: