Johnson sees lots of hard work in the futures of Olympic hopefuls
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Shawn Johnson, only 16 when she won an Olympic Gold medal in gymnastics, offered advice for those preparing to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics:
These athletes, she said, are “99 percent there” and need to get themselves excited and relish it.
“There's really nothing more physically you can do,” said Johnson, now 21. “There's nothing to do but train mentally.”
The Winter Olympics take place from Feb. 7 to 23 in Sochi, Russia. Six months later, a prequel to the 2016 Summer Olympics will come to Pittsburgh for the first time. The 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships will be held from Aug. 21 to 24 at Consol Energy Center.
Johnson came to Pittsburgh on Dec. 17 to promote the gymnastics competition.
“These girls and boys we see there are the ones you see in the Olympics,” she said.
Seeing the intense competition in person, rather than on television, “makes it real,” said Johnson, who retired from competitive gymnastics in 2012 after a knee injury. The time came for a new chapter in her life.
She moved to Nashville recently and is preparing to attend Vanderbilt University next fall, probably to study sports psychology and dietetics. Johnson doesn't do any gymnastics now, but she teaches and coaches other gymnasts. Gymnastics is a sport where you have to be “all in,” Johnson says.
“Unless you're training all day, every day ... it's not a sport you can mess with,” she said.
Her participation on “Dancing With the Stars” gave Johnson another outlet for her athleticism. She won the eighth season of the ABC show, and last year, she came in second in the show's “All-Stars” edition. The dancing offered an exciting, different experience, she said.
“What's hard to explain is that the physical demand of gymnastics is the polar opposite of what dancing is,” Johnson said.
Her youthful Olympic accomplishment set a standard for the rest of her life, for hard work and achievement, she said. The medal motivates her to strive just as hard in other things throughout life.
“I feel like I set the bar pretty high for myself,” said Johnson, who feels that in many ways, she bypassed her teen years.
“It takes such discipline and duty to your country,” she said of being an Olympian. “It was pretty intense, and you live in a fishbowl.”
Johnson recently bought a property in her native Des Moines, Iowa, that she plans to turn into a multisports facility in the future. The facility for youth would offer lifestyle and extreme sports, such as snowboarding, BMX and hip-hop dance.
Johnson tells kids who want to achieve highly to work very hard, because it does produce results. And they should absolutely love what they want to do.
“The most important thing is to have fun,” Johnson said. “My success comes from truly having a passion for what I did.”
The 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships come to Consol Energy Center from Aug. 21 to 24. Tickets for the four-day package are on sale for $141 to $476. Tickets for individual dates will go on sale at a later date. Details: www.consolenergycenter.com
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- Mother, baby found dead in Millvale apartment
- Weather continues to cause crashes, public transportation delays
- Over the falls — Cucumber Falls that is — go 3 kayakers in Ohiopyle
- Wolf reverses Corbett, says deal between Highmark, UPMC doesn’t limit continuity of care to very ill
- Rossi: Kang would benefit from less attention
- Pirates pitcher Locke fighting for 5th spot in starting rotation
- Penguins’ Lovejoy embracing defensive pairing with Pouliot
- Loose barges on Monongahela River highlight woes of winter’s end
- Alcoa may close or sell some aluminum plants to cut costs
- Experts: Clinton took dangerous path with email system