GK: What made you decide to come back after all of your success out of the gym?
SJ: What made me decide to come back was that, I missed the sport. After I had my little accident with my knee and surgery, the one thing that scared me the most was, “what if I can never do gymnastics again?” It was a reality check that I really did miss [gymnastics]. I had, not necessarily unfinished business, but I just missed being in the gym. I wanted to give it another shot so that I wouldn’t look back five years later, ten years later … and wonder, “what if I gave it a shot? what if I gave it a try?” I love it. I love being back.
GK: How is your knee?
SJ: The knee’s good. Good days and bad days, it’s getting there. They said it will take a while. I had a full reconstruction so, I’ve got a ways to go, but hanging in there.
GK: What is your training schedule like now?
SJ: The training schedule now is pretty intense. I go six days a week in the gymnastics gym, doing four to five hours each day. Then almost every day, six to seven days a week, I’ll do an hour or two in a fitness center. I’m doing quite a bit.
GK: Are you working on strengthening and cardio?
SJ: I’m working on everything. Strength, cardio, conditioning, knee stability, flexibility. Taking two and a half years off has definitely been hard, but it takes a lot more training time to get back to where I want to be.
GK: Since medaling in 2008, is your comeback approach different as you look towards the 2012 games?
SJ: I think my approach on the whole is a lot different. I think it’s day and night from the first time because I didn’t take a break the first time. It was just something that I had done my entire life. And now, it’s starting over. I’m starting from scratch and remodeling and rebuilding my whole foundation. I’m a different person this time around. I’m older. I’m different and I’m doing a little different gymnastics. I don’t know if I can tell you exactly what we are doing differently, but the whole system just feels different to me.
GK: Is it harder?
SJ: Yeah. Yes. [Laughing]. It’s a lot harder. I feel like the first time I had such an innocent mind, a naïve mind, not to know what it took to get there. It just kind of happened. Whereas, now, I know exactly what it takes. That’s what’s scary. You know you have to go into the gym every day and give 110% or you won’t make it. It’s overwhelming.
GK: What do you like most about your GK Signature Leotard Collection?
SJ: What I like most about my Signature Leotard Collection with GK is that I think it’s so me! I’ve always been different in the way that I dress and the way I act. I’ve never adhered to standards or “the norm.” I think you see that in my line. I choose really cool colors. I mix and match things. I do different backs and styles that a lot of people wouldn’t even think of. I take a risk and I love designing gymnastics leotards for GK!
GK wishes the best of luck to Shawn on her road to the London 2012 Olympics. We hope to watch her Olympic return and can’t wait to see what GK custom competition leotards, GK warm ups, and other GK gymnast apparel she wears along the way!
While waiting for the London games, look out for GK's Spring 2012 launch including Shawn Johnson’s Signature Collection - available January 16, 2012.