Shawn Johnson, world-renowned gymnast and Olympic gold medalist, announced Sunday that she is retiring from gymnastics. The announcement comes as a surprise, as twenty-year-old Johnson had been vying for a spot on the 2012 United States gymnastics team for the London Olympic games.
"I still have the heart, drive, and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics," Johnson said in a statement, adding, "Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer. All I can do now is gracefully retire and thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey."
While an athlete's retirement from a sport they love is always a bittersweet event, Shawn Johnson retiring from gymnastics is particularly sad, given the circumstances and the fact that the Olympics will take place this year.
Johnson has been suffering from recurrent knee injuries in recent years, an all-too-common concern for hardcore, lifelong athletes of any sport.
Hopefully she can take solace in the fact that she has already achieved so much in her short life, including four Olympic medals, and find a calling equally fulfilling to pass her obvious devotion on to.
Best of luck to Shawn Johnson as she navigates this next chapter in her life!