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An Olympian's Secret Weapon

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There was a time when Shawn Johnson wanted to quit gymnastics. What inspired this talented gymnast to continue all the way to Beijing? Momlogic talked to the mom behind the brilliance.


It's often a controversial debate in the momlogic office: Do moms push talented kids too hard because of their own unfulfilled dreams? Are stage moms out for a little bit of fame of their own, and--most importantly--what toll does it take on a child? Teri Johnson, mom of 15-year-old Olympian Shawn Johnson, gives her take--and much more. Just a couple of stats on this gymnastics queen: 

• Shawn helped the U.S. women win the gold medal at the 2007 World Championships. 

• She was one of the only U.S. women to win a world all-around title (Kim Zmeskal and Shannon Miller did as well). 

•She started gymnastics in 1995 (at just 3 years old), not because she was already a tumbling toddler, but because her mom wanted to give "the wild child something to do!"

Momlogic: What keeps Shawn inspired?

Teri: Shawn's drive is her constant need to learn the next skill. She can't wait to master one so that she can move on to another. Shawn's size and her incredible desire to learn the sport is what has been her gift. It was apparent pretty early on after she started that she was a natural, but it was her coach who recognized her potential.

Momlogic: Has Shawn ever wanted to quit? What did you tell her?

Teri: Shawn has expressed a time or two her desire to quit. I always assured her that it is HER decision to make as long as it wasn't as a result of a bad day or a bad practice. We always encouraged her to sleep on it. She has always wanted to continue. I feel she's doing what she's doing at this level because it's what she's made of. She has her weak moments when she's overwhelmed, but we all do. She's always been a kid who gives it all she's got. I think she would be this way whether it was gymnastics or any other sport or activity.

Read more from our interview with Shawn Johnson's mom here.
Check out Shawn Johnson in action.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 14, 2008, 10:52 AM

I can’t even imagine how proud I’d be if my child made it to the Olympics someday.

jackie August 14, 2008, 12:07 PM

I don’t think i could stop crying…it makes me cry just thinking about it. Watching your child accomplish this large of a dream? WOW

ben August 14, 2008, 2:13 PM

wat’s up girl

Breanna March 11, 2009, 1:48 PM

hi how r u?

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