Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson is one of the most recognized faces of gymnastics from the Beijing games, and she wants another shot at gold.
But a skiing accident could put a stop to her dream. The perky, petite blond tore her left ACL in January of 2010, effectively putting her training on hold. Six months later, she reinjured her knee and required a second surgery.
The road to the Olympics is long and filled with potholes. You get one chance every four years. Athletes struggle with tough training regimens and any serious injury can set them back for months or years, if not forever.
In a recent interview on NBC’s Today Show, Johnson discussed her injury and the fight to get back into shape. She explained: "Starting over coming off of a two-year break is, I mean it was a very humbling experience, but nothing makes me feel better than knowing I’ve made it back."
Johnson’s four medal wins at the 2008 Olympic games were a gold on balance beam, and silver for all-around, floor exercise and the team competition. It remains to be seen whether or not she plans to compete in the all-around or if she will stick to the balance beam, her favorite event.
When asked if she is looking for more gold to add to her collection, Johnson was tentative, saying, "I’m not trying to set any expectations or goals, but that’s what we work for, of course."
For now, Johnson is taking it slowly, but pleased with the results of her surgeries. She has approximately one month to be ready for the Visa Nationals Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Tenacity and a bit of luck will send her back to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. That is the plan, anyway.