top of page

Iowa History Daily: January 19 - Shawn Johnson

Iowa History Daily: On January 19, 1992, Shawn Johnson was born. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the balance beam, as well as team, all-around, and floor exercise silver medalist, Johnson additionally won five Pan American Games gold medals in 2007 while becoming one of the most influential Iowa athletes of all-time.



Johnson, born in Des Moines, to Doug and Teri Johnson started gymnastics class at age 3 after her parents noticed her climbing cabinets and jumping off tables. At age 6, Johnson enrolled as one of Liang Chow's first students when he opened a gymnastics school in West Des Moines. Chow went on to coach Johnson for nearly two decades as a competitive gymnast. Despite an internationally successful career, Johnson attended WDM Valley High School.



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 American Cup, winning the all-around before heading to Stuttgart, Germany, for the World Artistic Gymnastic Championships. Johnson helped lead Team USA to the Gold for only the second time ever while also capturing additional gold medals in all-around and floor exercise.



At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Johnson competed in all four events during the team competition. Team USA won the silver medal, and Johnson brought home the silver in the all-around, as well. In January 2010, Johnson tore her left ACL while skiing. After a difficult comeback attempt, Johnson retired after capturing a team gold and individual silver on the uneven bars at the 2011 Pan-American Games. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar



bottom of page