Shawn Johnson
Johnson at the 2008 Olympic Games

Full name

Shawn Machel Johnson

Country represented

Flag of the United States of America United States of America


January 19 1992 (1992-01-19) (age 26)
Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Years on National Team

2005-2008, 2010-2011


Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute


Liang Chow

Current status




Shawn Johnson East (born January 19, 1992) is a retired American artistic gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and all-around, team and floor exercise silver medalist. She is also 2007 World All-Around and Floor Exercise Champion and two time (2007 and 2008) U.S. National Champion. She won also the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars.

She married NFL player Andrew East in April 2016.[1]

Personal Life

Johnson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the only child of Doug and Teri Johnson. Her parents enrolled her in a gymnastics class at age three after they noticed her climbing cabinets and jumping off tables. At age six, Johnson was one of Liang Chow's first students when he opened a gymnastics school in West Des Moines. Johnson attended a public school, Valley High School. She was on the honor roll, attended football games, and participated in extra-curriculars. Through 2008, Johnson maintained a more balanced lifestyle than typical of elite female gymnasts. She limited her gymnastics training to 25 hours per week, as opposed to the more typical 40 hours. Johnson left public school in the spring of 2009. She and her mother relocated to Los Angeles, California and she appeared on Dancing With the Stars. As of 2010, she finished high school with a private tutor.


Junior Career


In 2004, Johnson competed in the Junior Olympics (U.S. Level 10) National Championships, finishing fourth in the all-around, first on beam, and second on floor.

As a youngster, Johnson was not scouted by USAG and her coach, Chow, had no interactions with the national staff. In 2005, Chow reached out to the National Team Coordinator, Marta Karolyi, sending her a video of Johnson, with the comment "I believe this kid will help the US team." Karolyi felt the action was audacious, "Wow, this coach is pretty confident", but she soon invited Johnson to national team training camps.

Junior elite

Johnson qualified Junior International Elite on her first attempt. She attracted widespread attention at the 2005 U.S. Classic, where she placed third. At the 2005 U.S. National Championships, Johnson fell from the beam on the first day of competition and finished tenth all-around.

In 2006, Johnson added several new tricks, including a Jaeger on bars, and two top-difficulty (G) skills, a full-in back-out dismount off beam and a double-twisting double back on floor. She won the 2006 U.S. Junior National All-Around Championship with a score higher than any of her senior elite competitors.

Senior Career

2007 pre-Worlds

Johnson became a senior in 2007 and continued to show 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 over teammate Natasha Kelley. Johnson also competed in the 2007 Pan American Games, winning four gold medals (team, all-around, beam and bars) and a silver on floor.

Johnson won the all-around at the 2007 Visa U.S. National Championships, beating Shayla Worley by more than 3 points. Johnson also finished more than 5 points ahead of two-time National Champion Nastia Liukin, in the first of a series of face-offs over the next 2 years.

2007 Pan American Games

Johnson took part in 2007 Panamerican Games. She won the team title, the all around title, the balance beam title and the uneven bars title. She was the silver medalist on floor.

2007 World Championships

Johnson represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships along with Nastia Liukin, Shayla Worley, Alicia Sacramone, Ivana Hong and Samantha Peszek.

In prelims (qualification), Johnson scored 16.250 on beam, 15.150 on floor, 15.175 on vault, and (with a fall on her dismount) 14.625 on bars. The U.S. finished first in prelims and Johnson qualified to the all-around, beam and floor finals.

Johnson performed all four events in the team finals; the only U.S. athlete to do this. Johnson scored 15.375 on bars and floor, and 15.150 on vault. She fell on the beam on her handspring-handspring-layout series and scored 15.025. The team won gold with 184.400 points, 0.950 ahead of silver-medal China. It was the second U.S. team gold in the World Championships.

In the all-around finals, Johnson scored a 15.175 on vault, 15.375 on bars, 15.900 on beam and 15.425 on floor. Her 61.875 total made her the fourth American woman to win the all-around gold medal.

During event finals, Johnson first competed on the balance beam, where she fell on her standing full and on her switch side leap, scoring a 14.475 and finishing last. In floor exercise, she went out-of-bounds on her first tumbling pass, but won the gold with a 15.250, just eclipsing teammate Sacramone.

2008 pre-Olympics

Johnson competed again in the American Cup on March 1, 2008 in Madison Square Garden. On vault, she fell on her Amanar vault, scoring a 15.175. She stated that her attempt to "stick" the vault caused the fall. On the other apparatus, she scored 15.625 on bars, 16.325 on beam, and 15.975 on floor. Although Johnson scored first on the vault, balance beam, and floor, she finished second in the all-around. Nastia Liukin, with an uneven bars score nearly a point higher than Johnson's won gold.

One week later, Johnson represented the U.S. in Jesolo, Italy against Italy, Spain, and Poland, along with Jana Bieger, Olivia Courtney, Chelsea Davis, Bridget Sloan, and Samantha Peszek. The U.S. won the junior and senior all-around team titles. Johnson won the all-around with a 61.7, earning the highest scores on vault (15.2), beam (16.2), and floor (15.0)

On June 7, 2008, Johnson won the 2008 U.S. National Championships. Johnson scored 127.5, winning the all-around title by one point ahead of Liukin. Johnson also won the floor exercise.

Two weeks later, Johnson won the all-around at the Olympic Trials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, again finishing ahead of Liukin. Because of their top placements, Johnson and Liukin were named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team immediately after the Trials. The other four 2008 team members earned their spots after two additional selection camps.

2008 Summer Olympics

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 the fourth time a country won both gold and silver medals in the individual all-around competition.

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


In January 2010, Johnson tore her ACL while skiing. She had reconstructive knee surgery the following month.

In May 2010, Johnson announced her return to gymnastics training with a goal of making 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

In August 2010, Johnson communicated that her knee recovered to allow full training and that she had learned a new difficult skill.

Johnson is planning on starting her comeback at the 2011 Covergirl Classics, and the 2011 Visa Championships, hopeful to make the 2011 World Championships Team. In September 2010, Johnson released videos showing the following skills (training status):

  • Vault
    • Yurchenko 2.5 "Amanar" (into pit)
    • Yurchenko 2.0 (into pit)
  • Uneven Bars
    • double twisting double layout dismount (into pit)
    • toe-on full pirouette, connected to Geinger salto
  • Beam
    • back handspring, back handspring, full twisting layout (floor line)
    • standing full twisting back salto (floor line)
    • back handspring, back handspring, layout (low beam)
    • switch leap, layout step-out, back pike front tuck
  • Floor Exercise
    • full twisting double layout (spotted onto pit mat, also unassisted on tumbletrack)
    • double layout (unassisted onto pit mat and on tumbletrack)
    • whip, double twisting back layout (tumbletrack)
    • double pike
    • double layout (unassisted on the hard floor)

In November 2010, Johnson performed her first post-Olympics National Team Training Camp. Although she expected to return to the "ranch" later in her comeback, Martha Karolyi requested she appear, based on her demonstrated progress in video. Johnson mentioned that her reconstructed knee still hindered high training volume.

In February 2011, Johnson became an official member of the USA Senior National team once again, this allows her to compete in international competitions. She has stated that she wishes to return to competition later in 2011.

Johnson's comeback started at the 2011 CoverGirl Classic, the qualifying meet for the Visa Championships. Although she fell on both bars and beam, she successfully petitioned into Championships.

Johnson was originally planning to compete the all-around, but after tweaking her knee on floor exercise during podium training, she chose to scratch on floor, competing on vault, bars, and beam. She had a much better performance than at the Classic, placing fourth on beam and sixth on bars.

In September, Johnson was named as a non-traveling alternate to the 2011 USA Women's World Championships Team.

In October 2011, Johnson was named to the 2011 Pan American Games Team. She won a gold medal in the team competition and also won a silver medal for her uneven bars performance.


In April, it was announced that Johnson backed out of the national team training camp.

On June 3rd, Johnson officially announced her retirement from gymnastics.

At the 2013 National Championships in August, Johnson was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame with the rest of the 2007 World Championship team.

Medal Count

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2004Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships442nd1st
2005Junior U.S. Classic 3rd3rd
Junior Visa Championships1049
Top Gym Competition1st1st1st
2006USA/Japan/New Zealand Competition1st1st3rd2nd1st
International Gymnix3rd2nd1st1st
Pacific Alliance Championships1st1st1st2nd1st
Junior Pan American Championships1st1st2nd1st2nd
Junior U.S. Classic1st2nd3rd2nd
Junior Visa Championships1st1st2nd1st1st
2007American Cup1st1st1st2nd1st
USA vs Great Britain International Competition1st1st2nd1st
Rio de Janeiro Pan American Games1st1st1st1st2nd
Visa Championships1st3rd1st1st
Stuttgart World Championships1st1st81st
2008American Cup2nd1st2nd1st1st
City of Jesolo Trophy1st1st
Visa Championships1st52nd1st
U.S. Olympic Trials1st2nd41st1st
Beijing Olympic Games2nd2nd1st2nd
2011CoverGirl Classic1116
Visa Championships64
Guadalajara Pan American Games1st2nd

Floor Music

2005 - "Heaven is a Place on Earth (Remix)" by Belinda Carlisle

2007 - "Cilicia and Sardarapad" by Ara Gevorgian

2008 - "August's Rhapsody" from August Rush

2011 - "Pa' Bailar" by Bajofondo