The Journey to the Olympics, Our Friendship, and Our Lives Now with Shawn Johnson – Episode 12

The Recap

Sam welcomes to the podcast former Olympic teammate and close friend, Shawn Johnson. Shawn is a former American gymnast who won a gold medal for the balance beam and silver in team, all-around, and floor exercise at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Since then, Shawn has written three books, launched a successful YouTube channel, spearheaded a health and fitness project (FYT) and won Dancing with the Stars! After suffering a torn ACL in a skiing accident, Shawn attempted a gymnastics comeback before ultimately deciding to retire in 2012.

In this episode, Shawn chronicles her gymnastics career, covering topics such as self-doubt, respect, pressures of competition and her life after. Shawn and Sam reminisce about their past competitions, their strict yet supportive coaches, and the rigors of Olympic life. Of course, there was plenty of fun to be had too, as Shawn regales stories of sleepovers, Nutella and pizza boxes. Among these stories of gymnast hijinks, Sam and Shawn discuss the quirkiness of being a gymnast and answer the question, “Are gymnasts normal?”

Episode Highlights

  • 02:46 – Sam and Shawn Johnson recall early memories of their friendship
  • 05:16 – Shawn describes her first time meeting the other girls on the Olympic team
  • 09:02 – Shawn discusses self-doubts about her Olympic aspirations
  • 10:30 – Elite Qualifier stories
  • 12:14 – The impact of injuries on Shawn’s early gymnastics career
  • 16:07 – The sleepover story
  • 17:47 – Shawn describes how balance beam was always her best event
  • 19:06 – The two share stories on their coaches, Peter Zhao and Liang Chow
  • 22:30 – Other life lessons Shawn learned from her coaches
  • 24:08 – Shawn’s definition of a good coach
  • 25:14 – The journey to the Olympic Games
  • 27:13 – Sam tells the story of how she met Shayla Worley
  • 28:40 – The two share funny stories of gymnastics hijinks, including the pizza box story
  • 32:50 – Shawn and Sam talk about their mindsets going into 2008
  • 35:47 – The 2008 Olympic trials
  • 39:16 – Shawn’s peaks and valleys of the Olympic experience
  • 45:06 – Sam’s peaks and valleys of the Olympic experience
  • 47:50 – Shocking revelations of the Olympic Village
  • 49:59 – Shawn describes her 2008 Olympic teammates in one word
  • 52:28 – Shawn divulges why she chose to come back to gymnastics after tearing her ACL
  • 53:30 – Shawn’s desire to compete in college gymnastics at UCLA
  • 54:50 – Dancing with the Stars and Shawn’s YouTube channel
  • 57:17 – The story of Shawn’s miscarriage and the incredible responses she received
  • 59:46 – Shawn’s latest health and fitness project, FYT (Follow Your Truth)
  • 1:01:25 – What is Shawn’s main connection to gymnastics today?
  • 1:02:17 – Shawn reveals one thing people can do to get 1% better each day
  • 1:04:53 – Sam’s surprise bonus episodes!

Tweetable Quotes

Links Mentioned

Destira: Gymnastics Leotards & Accessories

Tumbl Trak: Gymnastic, Cheer, Dance, Martial Arts and Special Needs Equipment

Shawn’s Instagram

Shawn’s YouTube

Shawn’s Twitter

Connect with Sam

Sam on Instagram

BeamQueenBootcamp on Instagram

Sam on Twitter

Sam on Facebook

Podcast production and marketing provided by Fullcast.

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