Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
Shawn Johnson is bidding adieu to the sport to which she has dedicated her life. The beloved Olympian has decided that she can no longer compete in gymnastics and will not be trying to land on the U.S. Olympic team.
The 20-year-old had hoped to stage a comeback and compete in the London Games this summer, but due to a knee injury she is forced to abandon her hopes of returning to the sport.
"I still have the heart, drive and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics," said the gold medalist in a statement on June 3. "Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer. All I can do now is gracefully retire and thank everyone who has believed in me and my journey."
Johnson, who initially injured her knee in a ski accident January 2010, admits that she doesn't know what she'll be doing in the next few years, because she has never had a life without gymnastics.
"I'm scared to death to know what the future holds because it's kind of a blinded road I've never thought about, but I'm excited as well. I'm ready to start the journey," Johnson said on a conference call about her retirement, reports ESPN.
Johnson, who has won four Olympic and three World career medals, has ventured outside of gymnastics before -- like when she competed on and won Dancing with the Stars in 2009 -- so she knows that with her drive and dedication, she will be able to achieve similar success outside of sports.
"If anything, my past 20 years have taught me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. And to really set a bar high," she says. "It just makes me want to work harder for something that might seem impossible at first, but given the right amount of effort, can come true."
Before announcing her retirement, Shawn Johnson talked with iVillage's Kelly Wallace about her difficult Olympic comeback. Watch here: