Shawn Johnson: Small Girl with a Big Future
Eli Saslow of The Washington Post featured Shawn Johnson in today’s issue of the paper. Saslow writes:
The same girl who broke into a cold sweat when she saw herself on television for the first time six months ago entered HP Pavilion on Thursday night as the focal point of United States gymnastics. Shawn Johnson, 15, posed for pictures and signed autographs as 5,000 fans watched her on the JumboTron. When she was introduced over the loudspeaker, Johnson responded with a shy smile and awkward half-wave that illustrated a sentiment she had already repeated several times here this week.
“It’s all so new and weird,” Johnson said earlier. “I guess I’m still not sure what it’s like to be famous.”
In about 10 months, Johnson has transformed from a talented junior gymnast into a candidate to win multiple medals at the 2008 Olympics. She has won every meet she’s entered since joining the senior national team, including three gold medals this summer at the Pan American Games in Brazil. Johnson’s peers expect her to win a few more golds this week at the USA Gymnastics national championships, which conclude with Saturday night’s finals.