January 8, 2010

Shawn Johnson to carry the Olympic torch

Shawn Johnson is getting Olympic fever.


The gold medal gymnast will carry the Olympic torch when it passes through Calgary on Jan. 18-19, and will be at the Vancouver Games with one of her sponsors. She also teamed up with short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno in a promotional campaign for Nestle's new Crunch bar.

"It's complete deja vu," she said earlier this week. "Honestly, I think it's going to be a lot harder than I thought (to watch). I'd give anything to be competing in Vancouver."

Or, perhaps, London.

Johnson's life has been a whirlwind since the Beijing Games. She did a nationwide tour with her teammates, competed on "Dancing with the Stars" (she won), and traveled the country for appearances and promotional work. She and Nastia Liukin were reunited for the "Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular" show, which is sponsored by Progressive and will be shown Sunday on NBC.

Johnson, who turns 18 on Jan. 19, is wrapping up her senior year of high school with a private tutor - "I am weeks from being done. I can't wait." - and has started thinking about college.

But when she'll go will depend on a lot of things, including gymnastics. Johnson was back in the gym last month working with coach Liang Chow. Though she hasn't made any decisions, she wants to get to the point where she could start training again if she wants.

"Right now, I don't even have the option of returning just because I'm not in the physical shape to be competing," she said. "I want to get in good enough shape that, if I want to, I can do it. If not, then I'll do whatever."

Asked when she'll make that decision, Johnson laughed.

"I'd love to make a decision by tomorrow," she said. "I don't think it's going to happen."

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