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Olympic Medalist Will Speak at U of M April 8th

For release: April 3, 2013
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

Shawn Johnson
Shawn Johnson

Shawn Johnson, who won gold and silver medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, will speak at the University of Memphis on Monday, April 8.  Her presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Rose Theatre; following her talk, she will take questions from the audience, and she will visit with members of the audience for photos and autographs.

Her talk is free and open to the public.

Johnson won her first Senior National Championship in August 2007; then she competed to become World AA Champion.  In both competitions, she achieved the largest point differentiation against some of the world’s best gymnasts.  In June 2008 she again was named National Champion and was named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.

In the Beijing games, she earned an individual gold medal in the balance beam competition and three silver medals, for individual all-around, floor exercises, and team categories.

 In April 2009 Johnson was awarded the Sullivan Award, the “Oscar” of sports awards, which has been presented by the Amateur Athletic Union since 1930.  The award recognizes the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, based not just on athletic ability, but on leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism.

Taking her athleticism to another realm, she performed on ABC television network’s “Dancing With the Stars,” where she danced her way to the championship of that show’s eighth season.

In 2012 she published a book, Winning Balance; and, following a knee injury, she announced her retirement from competitive gymnastics.

Today Johnson is involved in a number of philanthropic activities, such as charities that benefit children and animals, and cancer charities, especially those that help women and children.  She is also involved with programs that help build good character among young people.

Her appearance at the U of M is sponsored by the Student Government Association with support from the Student Activity Fee.  For more information, call 901-326-3960.

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