Amy Van Deusen of espnW chatted with Shawn Johnson about her recent training and the road to 2012. Here are a few interesting excepts from the interview:
"espnW: How is it different this time around than in 2008?
SJ: It's 100 percent different. I'm a different person. Last time I was 16 years old, and I was just doing it as an after-school activity. This time around I'm older, more mature, and I know what goes into it. I own it now. I'm my own coach, with [coach Liang] Chow on the side of course, but I'm doing everything for me. It's not just for fun this time.
espnW: How do you think you best fit into the U.S. team?
SJ: I've tried to realistically look at the entire team and see where I would fit in. I'm definitely trying for the all-around -- that would be ideal -- but there are a lot of girls coming up that are really strong, and I feel like I can contribute as one of the veterans this time around. I'm working really hard on beam and floor -- I think those are my strongest events right now. I hold the [Olympic] title on beam, so I would love to defend it. That's a big, big goal.
espnW: Have you changed any of the skills you do because of your knee?
SJ: There were a couple of skills that we decided would be best to completely throw away, just because of extreme twisting, the landing or the take-off. Finding the confidence to really trust your surgery leg is hard. So there are a few skills that I was really hesitant on, and we decided to try something else.
The main one we took out was my double-twisting double-back on floor. It was sort of a signature skill for me, so I was a little bummed, but as soon as you take off from that skill you have to twist, so it was scary for me with a knee injury. But we found a new one that works even better and came pretty easily, so hopefully it will turn out well."
Johnson would not divulge what the skill is but I am going to guess a double layout, or perhaps even a full twisting double layout.
Johnson's first competition back will be the USA Championships in Minneapolis in August and gymnastike will be there for all the action. Here's a look back at the last time she competed, winning the beam gold medal in Beijing.