The inspiring story of a pint-size American gymnast with a big smile and an even bigger heart You’ve seen her perform gravity-defying gymnastics moves. You’ve seen her win Olympic medals in Beijing and the coveted mirror ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. You’ve also seen her land on her feet—with her trademark smile—even when things haven’t gone her way.
Despite achieving more success and celebrity in her first two decades than most people experience in a lifetime, things haven’t been easy for Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson. Her first gymnastics coach told her family she lacked talent. Her modest upbringing in Iowa made elite competition unlikely. Although she won four medals at the Beijing Olympics, she was denied the big prize she’d dreamed of—the all-around gold medal. She had a terrifying experience with a stalker and would-be kidnapper. And after suffering a potentially career-ending injury, Shawn ultimately had to rethink what was truly important. What did she want most in life? What kind of success was worth pursuing? Would she ever find true faith, lasting hope, and real love?
In Winning Balance, for the first time Shawn reveals her journey so far: her against-the-odds quest to become a gymnastics world champion, her flirtation with Hollywood glamour, her growing faith, and her struggle to find herself. It’s the full, behind-the-scenes story of how a young woman who won Olympic gold on the balance beam learned new lessons about balance— as well as love, faith, and what winning really means.
What the World Is Saying about Shawn Johnson “Perhaps the best gymnast in the world—a compact, powerful package who is just as at home on the beam and bars as she is in the vault and floor events. . . . Shawn Johnson has an easy smile and confidence and rarely betrays the nervousness she says she feels at every competition.” —Time magazine
“She packs the power of someone twice her size yet somehow manages to still look dainty. She tumbles without fear, whether it’s on the floor or up on the balance beam, and makes the toughest tricks look easy. She’s the type of gymnast one can’t help but watch.” —ESPN.com
“A powerful tumbler and nerveless competitor . . . Johnson smiles and bubbles while competing— a 4' 9" firecracker.” —Sports Illustrated
“Not only an extraordinary athlete, but also something altogether more profound and worthy of cele- bration: an uncommon human being . . . a young woman whose gifts stretch well beyond sports.” —The Christian Science Monitor
Olympic gold-medalist gymnast Johnson has written an endearing memoir of her rise to winning three silver medals and one gold at age 16. Every bit as interesting are her accounts of coping with the aftermath of fame, both as an Olympic champion and as a reality-TV star on Dancing with the Stars. Among the details: slips on the balance beam in front of Olympic judges, spats with parents, learning to wear heels, and realizing that what looks good on TV—makeup and hair extensions—can look strange in person. Johnson’s “balanced” beginnings seem almost too idyllic at the start of the book, but as her struggle toward Olympic glory plays out, we come to appreciate the sturdy values of parents who knew instinctively to honor her high energy and uniqueness. Johnson emerges as a powerhouse champion with a winning attitude, always making the best of circumstances, even an injury that could have ended her career. Her book celebrates both family love and faith in God as wellsprings of strength. A solid offering from a woman wiser than her years suggest she might be.
At age 20, American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a staggering injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She wasn’t sure what her goals were. And she wasn’t sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God. Could she find the right kind of success in life—the kind that doesn’t involve medals or trophies, but peace, love, and lasting joy? This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.
"Winning Balance" by Shawn Johnson, the Olympian, is a not an autobiography (her words) but a book about what she has learned so far about love, faith, and living your dreams. In my opinion it is about as autobiographical as you can get. She starts with birth and goes on from there. At the ripe old age of 20 she has done quite a bit of living. She tells of training in gymnastics from an early age, to the Olympics, to Dancing With the Stars, to an attempted comeback, to retirement. That's a lot crammed into 20 years. This is the second book I have read this year by an Olympian and the second I have read by a DWTS champ. It was interesting to see her point of view as she was by far the youngest and the only female as well as generational American of the three authors. She isn't a great writer. She sees things young, she writes young,; but hey, she is. She doesn't get real deep into herself, she mostly sticks to the play-by-play writing method. I would recommend this book for the gymnastics fan or really anyone wanting a light hearted non-fiction. No raves, but no complaints either. C I received this book for free through the Summer Reading Program through Tyndale Publishing.
I absolutely loved this book! Shawn is just so real and down to earth that you cannot help but to fall in love with her! At the end of most chapters, she has a life lesson that she has learned. And her poetry is shared throughout the book. Lovely book and would definitely recommend it!