It is official. After all the rehab and hours in the gym, 2008 Olympian Shawn Johnson has retired at age 20.
According to USAGym.org, she has realized her knee, which was operated on twice, cannot withstand the physical demands of elite gymnastics:
I still have the heart, drive, and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer. All I can do now is gracefully retire and thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey.
Beyond her team silver medal from Beijing, Johnson owns a case full of gold for outstanding individual performances, from the America Cup, Nationals, Pan Am Games, World Championships and of course the 2008 Olympics.
Johnson chose to announce her retirement prior to next weekend's Visa Nationals in order to allow the judges and selection committee to concentrate on other talented gymnasts.
"Shawn will always hold a special place in gymnastics and my heart," said Marta Karolyi, coordinator of the women's national team.
Needless to say, Johnson will hold a special place in the hearts of millions.