Gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson serious about training for 2012 London OlympicsBy AP
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Shawn Johnson serious about London 2012 training
NEW YORK — Shawn Johnson hadn’t gone out of town in more than a month, and when she finally left, she took a red eye then a quick flight back after a promotional event in Manhattan.
The days of traveling the country and dancing with the stars are over. The gold medal-winning gymnast is back in Des Moines, back in training mode, and focused on the 2012 London Olympics.
But for now those practices look little like the high-flying routines that earned her four medals in Beijing in 2008. Johnson is still recovering from February surgery to repair a torn ACL in her left knee.
So there’s lots of running, lots of conditioning.
“It’s more like cross country training right now than gymnastics,” she said with a laugh.
Johnson is coming up on the six-month mark after surgery, and with it the clearance to resume full activities. She’s been working on some gymnastics skills, but won’t push it if she feels any pain. The goal is to be doing the toughest tricks again by the end of the year, then to be ready for elite competition by the U.S. championships next August.
But the 18-year-old isn’t about to guarantee she’ll be in London. It just depends on how her body responds to training.
Johnson won a gold and three silvers in Beijing, finishing second in the all-around. She spent the months after the games relishing the perks of Olympic glory. Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention, hung out with Oprah, and accomplished the ultimate pop culture feat: winning “Dancing With the Stars.”
She flew to New York for a “Got Milk?” event Wednesday but was on the ground only long enough to share a stage with Chris Bosh and Apolo Anton Ohno. The priority was minimizing the time away from the gym.
Before the 2008 Games, she never would have imagined still having this level of dedication to the sport two years later.
“I was like, ‘The day after Beijing, I’m done,’” Johnson said. “But I couldn’t stay away from gymnastics.”
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