WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, June 3, 2012 – Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, who has four Olympic and three World career medals, today announced her retirement from competitive gymnastics. Her stellar career includes three World gold medals and one gold and three silver Olympic medals, and her gymnastics prowess and outgoing personality made her a fan favorite. Johnson, who has been on the comeback trail since 2011, was forced to cut her efforts to make her second Olympic team short due to recurring knee problems.
“I still have the heart, drive, and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics,” said Johnson, who also won two senior U.S. all-around titles. “Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer. All I can do now is gracefully retire and thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey.
“Being given the opportunity again by Martha Karolyi and USA Gymnastics to represent the USA has been the greatest honor of this comeback,” said Johnson. “Thanks to all of my sponsors for allowing me to represent them, and their support has been a dream come true. Also, my agent, Sheryl Shade, has truly given me the chance to pursue my biggest dream while sharing my story with the world. And to my fans and friends, I will be forever grateful. To my parents, Teri and Doug, I thank you for the love you have given me. To my coaches, Liang and Li Qiao (Chow), thank you for nurturing me throughout my life in the sport of gymnastics and the lessons of sportsmanship.
“I am announcing this now so the focus for the next three weeks will be on the incredibly talented gymnasts who are trying to make our 2012 Olympic Team,” said Johnson. “I have had the honor to train and compete with them, and I am excited to join the gymnastics family and fans in cheering them on to victory. I will be there with every ounce of pride and energy to cheer on my girls and Team USA.”
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Best wishes to Shawn on whatever she may decide to do and most of all, thank you for the inspiration and drive you have given to many young gymnasts and fans. Thanks for the gymnastics Shawn.