Shawn Johnson, one of the most popular gymnasts, has announced her retirement from the sport. She was hoping to make the 2012 Olympic team.
She told PEOPLE magazine:
I still have the heart, drive, and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics. Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer.
Shawn Johnson, who won four Olympic, three World career medals and also won her season of Dancing with the Stars in 2009 stated:
All I can do now is gracefully retire and thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey.
Regardless of the fact that Shawn is not competing in the Olympic Games herself, she will still attend the Games to cheer on her former teammates.
The gymnast initially injured her knee in a January 2010 ski accident and feared her long-term health would be at risk if she continued competing, the Associated Press reports. When she tried to increase her training in preparation for London, her knee did not hold up, and continued training for the Games could mean a total knee reconstruction in the future.
Johnson’s decision has been anything but easy for her. She said:
How can you tell yourself, ‘No, I think it’s time to say it’s finally done, I’d like to be 30 and have kids and run around with them. It became more about my future life than this future one moment. I’m looking at the bigger picture of things.
It’s weird, for the first time in my career I came up short. But I feel like I succeeded as well. It almost came too easy the first time. It was a humbling experience this time around.
The Olympian, who helped Team USA earn a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, won silver in the all-around, silver on the floor exercise and gold on the balance beam – the only U.S. woman to do so apart from Shannon Miller in 1996.
The Games will certainly not be the same with Shawn Johnson not competing. However, having her there to support her teammates soar to new heights will be a major support system for Team USA.
Photo courtesy of: FameFlynet.com, Shawn Johnson’s Twitter,