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Reply #32: Even the WSJ editorial loves her [View All]

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-21-08 02:57 PM
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32. Even the WSJ editorial loves her
The Wall Street Journal

Shawn Johnson, Gamer
August 20, 2008; Page A18

The 4-feet-9-inch, 16-year-old bundle of power named Shawn Johnson is due back in class next week at West Des Moines Valley High School. But before it's time to start junior year, she deserves a few moments to savor her Olympic gold medal in the gymnastics balance beam. Her Tuesday victory was her first of the Beijing Games, but for more than a week she has been an inspiring example of guts and grace.

As reigning world champion, Ms. Johnson was a gold-medal favorite going into the Games. But despite her own performance in the team competition, the U.S. lost the gold to China when her teammates struggled. Ms. Johnson's reaction was to remind her most distraught comrade that it was Ms. Johnson who had made costly mistakes in a tournament last year.

When American Nastia Liukin beat her in the all-around competition, she smiled and told NBC's Bob Costas how happy she was for Ms. Liukin, her Olympic village roommate. A near-miss in the floor exercise elicited more goodwill. "I would never trade one of my silvers for gold," she told ESPN. "What I went through to get them is very special to me and really touched my heart."

Of course she still wanted gold, and it was fitting that her last shot would come on the balance beam, an event so difficult and unforgiving that many people can't even stand to watch it, never mind try to pull off backward somersaults atop a four-inch sliver of wood. Ms. Johnson's score of 16.225 gave her the win and triggered a bouncing, tearful celebration. Few medal winners in Beijing were more deserving.

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