Shawn Johnson: A "Woman" Girls Can Look Up to Who Doesn't Shoot Hoops

Cameon ShiflettSenior Analyst IApril 1, 2009

IOWA CITY, IA - DECEMBER 12: Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson poses at a meet and greet session on December 12, 2008 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Johnson, whose home is in Iowa, was raising money for flood relief charities in Eastern Iowa after a 500 year flood devastated the area. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)

"Miley Cyrus poses in nude photos."

"Britney Spears put in rehab after letting son ride on lap without car seat."

"Lindsay Lohan has fallen off the deep end. Again."

These are the kinds of headlines that we hear about the young ladies in the "business" these days. If you'll notice, none of the above messages are positive. Why? You'd be pressed to find a headliner that speaks of a young female doing well in society these days.

This could be because of the old saying that you can do good things a million times and never be noticed, but do one bad thing and that's what you'll be known for. Or, it could be because most young females in the spotlight really don't have their acts together.

Except Shawn Johnson.

If this name is new to you, here's some background information.

Shawn Johnson started her dancing career when she was just 3 years old after her parents realized that she had way too much energy, and dance didn't work. She was the first to join a new and upcoming gym of which her current coaches are still the owners.

In 2005, Johnson qualified for the National Junior Elite Status on her first attempt and won third place overall. She went on to win the 2006 U.S. Junior National All-Around Championship with a score higher than any of the senior elite competitors that year.

Johnson entered the senior division in 2007 and continued to showcase new skills, including a double twisting double layout dismount off the uneven bars.

She competed at the 2007 Tyson American Cup, winning the all-around title over teammate Natasha Kelley.

Johnson also competed in the 2007 Pan American Games, winning four gold medals in the team finals, the individual all-around, and the balance beam and uneven bar finals, and the silver in the floor exercise final.

Johnson also represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where she and her team would go on to win.

She won four gold medals at this competition and would bring hope only the second team gold medal for the United States in the World Championships and only the fourth American woman to win the all-around.

In honor of these awards, the Governor of Iowa declared Oct. 17 "Shawn Johnson Day."

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Johnson competed in all four events during the team competition, in which the United States won the silver medal.

Johnson also won the silver medal in the individual all-around competition, receiving a score of 62.725. Johnson's teammate and roommate at the Olympic Village, Nastia Liukin, won the gold medal, receiving a score of 63.325.

With Liukin taking gold and Johnson silver, this competition was the first time that the United States Women's Gymnastics team took both the gold and silver medals in the individual all-around competition.

This competition also marks only the fourth time any country has won both the gold and silver medals in the individual all-around competition.

She won the silver medal in floor exercise, with Liukin taking bronze. She did, however, win a gold medal on the balance beam apparatus. Like the individual all-around, she and Liukin took the top two medals in this event.

OK, all that's really impressive, right?

You haven't heard anything yet.

Along with "working out" for five to six hours a day (usually an hour per event), this young lady makes time for her friends, family, and causes that she wants to participate in.

This includes "What We Do Matters," which raises awareness for cancer that women are more likely to get, partnering with Crest to focus on dental hygiene and take toothbrushes to the needy people, partnering with fellow Iower Ashton Kutcher to sponsor a charity event to help those that suffered from the flooding in Iowa, and most recently has taken an interest in the "Exercise Your Character" program.

Impressed yet? I'm not even done.

Along with all of the previous engagements, Johnson attends public school at Valley High School where she is an Honor Roll student. She is also a member of several clubs and organizations.

Feeling worthless yet? I'm still not done.

With everything else, Johnson also took on "Dancing With The Stars" this season. This is where I start making my points.

While Johnson has achieved many great things, nothing speaks out more than her character.

While watching DWTS, I was impressed by Johnson's figure. Most people try and get stick thin for this show because of the skimpy outfits they try and put these girls in.

Johnson looks healthy! At a time when Nicole Ritchie and several others are "tipping the scale over" at 100 pounds, I thought it refreshing for a young girl to not be influenced by others and to be the way she is.

Not only that, but during the second week of the show she had to do the salsa. Traditionally, the salsa is a very "sexy" dance. You have to move your hips a lot and shake your butt.

When her professional dancing partner gave an example, she said, "I've never done that before. I don't think my booty moves like that."

Try finding one of these new "teen celebs" that doesn't shake their booty all over the place during the show. And I wish you luck, because I could not think of a single one.

Every one of them usually have some kind of explicit move in their routines. Britney Spears even comes out in costumes where her whole body is covered up simply by a sheer material with nipple tassels.

And these are the ladies our girls have to look up to?

Plus, this girl truly appreciates her fans. She is 17 years old. She keeps up with her own website, where she has a blog, writing, pictures, and a forum where she interacts with her fans.

Plus, she has her own YouTube page where she gives out her AIM address because, she says, "I like to be connected with my fans because they are people just like me. They cheer me on and I'm very thankful for that."

To me, a girl like this should be publicized more by television shows and magazines. Let Britney get her life back together, Miley put her clothes back on, and Lindsay find someone else to call her best friend. Let ladies like this be the guiding light that young girls look up to.

If you would like to check out some of Shawn Johnson's TV appearances to see what I'm talking about, you can click here and here.


*****Do you like reading about women that are making sports history? Check out the new, upcoming community, "The Foxes In The Henhouse," to read more about them, and meet some of B/R's very own female stars.*****


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