Shawn Johnson won a gold medal and three silvers at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, but her inability to fully recover from a devastating knee injury forced her to retire earlier this month.
Johnson spoke with Medal Detector on behalf of Procter & Gamble, which is providing a $75,000 grant from the USOC’s P&G|Team USA Youth Sports Fund to benefit the USA Gymnastics Fitness Program, about her decision to retire.
"It was kind of just sitting down and facing reality that we just ran out of time and my knee wasn’t allowing me to go any further," Johnson explained. "I knew the talent that was out there, and I knew that I wasn’t up to par. Giving my spot up to another girl that could potentially qualify at trials and make it was something I thought was best on both sides."
Does Johnson think things could have gone differently if she had more time to recover from her 2010 ski accident that resulted in a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in her knee?
"Honestly, I don’t know. It’s hard to go through all the what-ifs, and I try not to do that because it can get you down on things. To say ‘What if I had another year?’ I don’t know what would happen," Johnson told Medal Detector. "I don’t know if my knee would have healed better — I don’t know what would have happened. Everything happens for a reason, and not making the team and deciding to retire has been a blessing in disguise. It’s bittersweet, but things are working out for the best."
Johnson will be in London to cheer on her country at the 2012 Summer Games. Though she won't be competing, she has plenty to look forward to.
"Starting a new chapter of my life is exciting," she says.
The former gold medalist plans on attending college in the fall of 2013 and may study business or communications.
Click here to read the entire interview.
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE