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Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams Hardcover – June 5, 2012
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Olympic gold-medalist gymnast Johnson has written an endearing memoir of her rise to winning three silver medals and one gold at age 16. Every bit as interesting are her accounts of coping with the aftermath of fame, both as an Olympic champion and as a reality-TV star on Dancing with the Stars. Among the details: slips on the balance beam in front of Olympic judges, spats with parents, learning to wear heels, and realizing that what looks good on TV―makeup and hair extensions―can look strange in person. Johnson’s “balanced” beginnings seem almost too idyllic at the start of the book, but as her struggle toward Olympic glory plays out, we come to appreciate the sturdy values of parents who knew instinctively to honor her high energy and uniqueness. Johnson emerges as a powerhouse champion with a winning attitude, always making the best of circumstances, even an injury that could have ended her career. Her book celebrates both family love and faith in God as wellsprings of strength. A solid offering from a woman wiser than her years suggest she might be. (Booklist)
From the Inside Flap
What the World Is Saying about Shawn Johnson
Perhaps the best gymnast in the worlda compact, powerful package who is just as at home on the beam and bars as she is in the vault and floor events. . . . Shawn Johnson has an easy smile and confidence and rarely betrays the nervousness she says she feels at every competition.
She packs the power of someone twice her size yet somehow manages to still look dainty. She tumbles without fear, whether its on the floor or up on the balance beam, and makes the toughest tricks look easy. Shes the type of gymnast one cant help but watch.
A powerful tumbler and nerveless competitor . . . Johnson smiles and bubbles while competing a 4' 9" firecracker.
Not only an extraordinary athlete, but also something altogether more profound and worthy of cele- bration: an uncommon human being . . . a young woman whose gifts stretch well beyond sports.
The Christian Science Monitor
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I did find the 2nd half of the book (post Olympics) surprising and honest, a lot of highs and lows for a young woman. Although I think she is probably 15-20 years too young to write a memoir on life lessons this is a decent book for a 20 year old athlete and is a fairly entertaining read.
PS- you have to check out her You Tube channel; it's the best!
When I handed my daughter this book, I was curious whether it would resonate with her or be one she started and then put down. The pages flipped pretty fast as she learned more about Shawn and her journey. The book pairs her journey with her spiritual journey. It's told in a way that perfectly targets teens. The style is conversational taking you behind the scenes in the events in her life. Each chapter also ends with a Lesson I've Learned: a nugget of truth that applies to all of us.
This is a sports memoir with spiritual applications. A worthwhile read, and one I look forward to reading with my daughter next time.