American gymnast Shawn Johnson, 2008 Olympic all around silver and balance beam gold medalist and author of a new blog for ESPNW, took part in an online live chat on Thursday on the United States Olympic Committee’s live stream. She answered questions from fans via Twitter regarding the status of her knee, which she injured during a skiing accident around two years ago, her Olympic aspirations for 2012, new skills she is working on, and others.
Shawn Johnson at the 2008 Olympic Games. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
When asked about her knee, Johnson admitted that “it has a mind of its own,” and that while it is generally doing well, sometimes it still hurts her and affects her performance. For a while, many of her fans have been concerned that her knee will hold her back from making the Olympic team this year.
Johnson also put an end to the speculation about the status of her all around career, saying that she hopes to compete in the all around in London. Numerous fans online have pointed out that this is not the smartest training move, as she does not have much time left to prepare and would be better off just focusing on her strong events like the balance beam, floor exercise, and vault. It is true that Johnson would most likely be better off in terms of making the Olympic team by capitalizing on her strengths because the United States team has many talented younger, up-and-coming gymnasts like 2011 world all around champion Jordyn Weiber that are simply stronger all around gymnasts that are stronger on the four apparatuses than Johnson is.
“That is suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch a bad idea,” a fan wrote online right after the live chat.
Johnson hinted that she is working on several new more difficult skills on the balance beam and floor exercise but said that she “can’t tell” what they are just yet and that “you will just have to wait and see.” Johnson also mentioned that she has a new floor routine. “I hope you guys like it,” she said. However, since Johnson has never been a very strong dancer (ironically, she did win Dancing With The Stars in 2009 with partner Mark Ballas, who she mentioned she has not talked to lately), it will be more interesting to see what new tumbling skills she has got up her sleeve. After all, tumbling has always been one of Johnson’s greatest strengths.
Regarding her plans after the Olympic Games, Johnson said that she needs a break and plans to retire. She did retire briefly after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, so we will see. She also says that she hopes to major in some type of business in Stanford. Johnson, 20, has put her college education on hold for the past couple of years in order to better prepare for London.