Shawn has written this book as a way to reflect on the lessons she has learned from her training and competitive experiences. She shares her childhood, climbing and jumping. She was so full of energy her mother signed her up at a gym.
Her early accomplishments are amazing – on the junior national team in Belgium and taking first place in the all-around, vault and floor. She came in first at the Visa championships (2006). She won the all-around title at the 2007 Tyson American Cup, at the 2007 Pan American Games, and the 2007 Visa Championships (this time as a senior competitor), and at the World Championships. She writes, “I had gone from an up-and-coming junior to the best gymnast in the world in one year.” (59)
Beijing was in her sights but she experienced a stress fracture and the future looked uncertain. Then the gym was flooded one week before the Trials.
Shawn shares her experiences at the Olympics – the fear of defeat, the moment she realized she would not win the all-around gold, and being away from her parents for a month.
Back in the U. S., as life was returning to normal, she was invited to be on Dancing With the Stars, the youngest contestant to compete. She shares how the glitz of Hollywood affected her. After DWTS, she thought she needed to find a new identity for herself. She realized that her identity came from something other than her accomplishments. She knew that lasting happiness would never be found in another medal. Her faith in Christ was what mattered.
Shawn loved to ski and tells of the accident wrecking her knee. The injury gave her time to think about her future. She decided to try for the 2012 Olympics. However, just Sunday, June 3, Shawn announced her retirement because of trouble with her left knee. She reminds us at the end of her book that a gymnastic career is short. She looks forward to college, marriage and kids.
The message she wants her readers to embrace is that God will walk you through the tough times. She knows God has done that for her.
What a treasure of a book! It is well written and compelling. Shawn kept a journal and has done a wonderful job creating a very readable and inspiring book.
At her young age, Shawn is mature beyond her years sharing the lessons she has learned at the end of each chapter. What a privilege to get to know the young woman we've seen in the spotlight. And I promise, if I see her at the mall and happen to be next to her in the bathroom, I won't reach under the divider with a piece of paper and ask for her autograph (you have to read the book).
Find out more about Shawn at www.shawnjohnson.net.
Tyndale House Publishers, 253 pages. Go here for the publisher's product page and a video.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.