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As he handed her the medal he said 2 words that confirmed her worst nightmare…
“Do I even go out and compete? Do I just throw it?”
Moments before Shawn Johnson gave her routine at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she heard the score from the girl before her and knew Gold was out of her reach. She finished the events with 3 silvers and 1 gold which, as great as it was, wasn’t enough to fulfill the expectations that America had for the 16-year-old gymnast.
As she bent down to have the silver medal placed around her head, the event coordinator handing out the medals looked at her and said, “I’m sorry”.
Two words that confirmed her worst nightmare; second wasn’t enough.
She came home to criticism that sent her into a dark depression. The months that followed were some of the hardest of her life as her identity as America’s sweetheart was quickly changing. Her clothes weren’t good enough, her weight wasn’t good enough, her one gold medal wasn’t good enough.
Her “I Am Second” interview above details the exact moment she decided to change and the motivation that led her to the woman she is today, apart from gymnastics—and it’s crazy powerful.