Being one of the two finalists on “Dancing With the Stars,” Johnson has been caught up in a whirlwind of popularity and media attention the past few months.
Although she has been busy with her television venture, gymnastics is never far from her attention. She said small, grass-roots facilities like Golden State Gymnastics are vitally important to the success of the sport in the United States.
“They are extremely important,” she said. “Sports to me are the most important thing. Places like this help to keep kids active, they teach a lot of responsibility and life’s lessons. Of course, when they get older they also help keep them out of trouble.”
Johnson used what she learned in the sport to catapult to success in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She won four medals: the gold on balance beam and silvers in the team, floor exercise and all-around. Johnson is only the second U.S. gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal on balance beam, joining Shannon Miller (1996).
In April, she was given the Sullivan Award, which recognizes the country’s top amateur athlete.
When her “Dancing With the Stars” experience is through, Johnson said she will seriously contemplate whether she will compete in the 2012 London Games.
“When “Dancing” is over I’ll get back in the gym,” she said. “I’ll see if my body can still do it and my mind and heart are still in it. But I really miss it so much.”