As the girls burst into the gym, they were taken aback with the presence of a smiling blue-eyed blond — Olympic gold medalist and “Dancing With the Stars” finalist Shawn Johnson, all 4-feet-9 of her.
Johnson was at the gym doing publicity and promoting Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations. The company is kicking off the Lunchables Lunch Your Tummy Right Tour, a cross-country tour that aims to inspire kids to achieve success
“They called us at the gym and asked us if we were interested in having Shawn come,” said Golden State Gymnastics President Camille Goldberg. “Can you believe that? They contacted us. We thought it was a great idea.”
When Johnson was finished with her publicity work, the 17-year-old took some time to talk to the young gymnasts. She also answered questions from the adoring athletes, covering everything from her Olympic experiences, to her training and specific gymnastics moves, to nutrition and workout methods.
One inquisitive preteen even asked Johnson. “Do you color your hair?” Johnson giggled and answered, “No.”
Johnson even stuck around to help some of the gymnasts with their techniques and also watched performances by Golden State Gymnastics athletes.”
“I really didn’t have anybody that I looked up to in gymnastics come to talk to me when I was young,” Johnson said. “It’s very important for me to come in and talk to the girls, and hopefully be someone they can relate to.”
Johnson said the reaction of the girls to her being in their gym was priceless.
“I really loved that,” she said. “They were just so cute. It means a lot to me that they were that touched by me coming here It was a great moment.”
Being able to see one of their idols close up, and to actually interact with an Olympic champion, was a thrill for the Golden State Gymnastics athletes.