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