The Olympic gymnast who captured everyone’s heart at the 2008 Beijing Games and was once referred to as “the next Mary Lou” is retiring. Shawn Johnson announced Sunday (June 3) that her left knee injury is going to make competing at the 2012 London Summer Games impossible and that she is retiring from gymnastics at the age of 20.
“It just little by little gets worse and worse. My body is to the point where I need time to rest and retire so I can be healthy for the rest of my life,” Johnson tells the AP. “It’s hard to wrap my mind around. Gymnastics has been my entire life, and now it’s no more.”
Johnson won four medals in Beijing – silver in the team competition and floor exercise, gold in the balance beam and then, despite being a favorite for the women’s all-around, took silver to teammate Nastia Liukin in the all-around.
She went on to win America’s heart once again by winning “Dancing With the Stars.” But a ski accident in January 2010 blew out her left knee and she has never quite been the same.
The U.S. gymnastics championships start in just four days and they will determine the girls who travel to London to represent the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics. But Shawn Johnson will not be amongst them. Truly a shame, we were really looking forward to the bubbly Iowa girl taking another run at more Olympic gold.