Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she'd worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn't sure who she was anymore. She wasn't sure what her goals were. And she wasn't sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God. Could she find the right kind of success in life--the kind that doesn't involve medals or trophies, but peace, love, and lasting joy? This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.
Honestly, it was just okay. Shawn Johnson seems like a lovely person, who really seems to care about giving back and being a good role model to younger gymnasts. And that's who I think this book is for, younger (teen and preteen) kids who look up to Shawn. The lessons she learns are very cliche and can be found in numerous self-help books or "change my life" memoirs, so they didn't really resonate for me. I felt like she didn't go into depth about her life or training, just doling out the barest of details. The post-gymnastics chapters about her body consciousness and DWTS delved a little deeper, which I was grateful for.
I did think she missed an opportunity to have a lesson about listening to your body. She had an injury skiing, and instead of going straightaway to a doctor, she continue to ski and run and "fight through the pain", which could have made her injuries worse. She also jumped back into gymnastics without enough rehab and reinjured herself. However, the lesson she learned from those injuries is that "everything happens for a reason". Now, I obviously don't know the whole story, but perhaps if she'd taken better care of herself, listened to her body telling her it was something bigger, the injury wouldn't have been so severe? I just think it would have been a good message for the kids.
I received this book free. As an Auto-Biography it was okay although I stopped reading it for a while as another book looked more interesting. As a Christian Auto-Biography it fell short.
Shawn Johnson describes her early childhood and experiences leading up to her winning Gold and Silver medals at the Beijing Olympic Games. A lot of the book was about her training as a gymnast which I didn't relate to but I'm sure would be of interest to other gymnasts. I liked her honesty and descriptions of her personal struggles although I felt in places that she revealed too much detail (e.g a romantic relationship with a man that broke up with his girlfriend for her) that she will wish she had kept to herself later in life. I felt sorry for her as she describes her terror on learning that she had a stalker who had been on his way to abduct her during her training for a dance competition. Also as she describes her struggles with a serious knee injury later in the book.
There are many of these "Christian" Auto-Biographies that read more like "self help" manuals for how to navigate life with the most positive attitude you can muster. God seems to then be tagged onto the end as an afterthought. There are Bible verses and secular "self-help" quotations intermingled throughout the book. After winning her Gold medal and a dance competition Shawn realises that there is more to life than winning competitions, she feels an emptiness in her life and almost turns to God to fill it, almost but not quite....it was frustrating reading at this point as I was expecting her salvation testimony especially when the chapter was entitled "How God became more real to me," but she always seems to weather the storm and then continue as before...
At the end of every chapter the author details a "Lesson I've Learned" and one of the final lessons is this;
"Don't let anything hold you back from following your heart and taking a leap of faith. Even if you're the only one who believes in the direction you want to take, you have the power to make it happen."
Most of her "life lessons" are like this and sadly they are just not Biblical. The Bible teaches that we should not follow our hearts as they are deceitful, that we should instead follow the Bible. Also that we should follow God's direction rather than our own and that we have no power apart from in Him!
Shawn is clearly a sincere young woman seeking to live a moral life and believing that God is helping her. She mentions prayer at various points. It is my hope that she will come to a personal saving faith in Jesus. The book is clean and free of bad language, violence and sexual content. If you are interested in gymnastics/Shawn Johnson you may enjoy this but I don't think it will inspire Christian readers.
3.5 stars. Ever since I had heard about Olympic gymnast, Shawn Johnson's new book, I looked forward to reading it. I love watching gymnastics, and Shawn's no exception as she is clearly gifted in the sport. Since I love reading memoirs, I was very eager to read this one. While their were a few things I didn't really relate to, or would have done myself, (such as her Dancing With The Stars experience, I personally would want more modest dances and attire, but that's just me) I enjoyed reading her story. Even though I'd never want such a lifestyle, as it is clearly stress-filled, I enjoyed reading about what it's like and enjoyed all the little snippets you wouldn't know otherwise.
One thing I did notice to be a bit different was how, even though Shawn claims to be a follower of Christ, she didn't go to church as a child, nor did she know the basic fact of the Bible, such as Jesus's father's name, Joseph. I just find it a bit odd that one claims to follow Christ, yet doesn't know His father's name. However she does say she attended church as an adult, and I hope that her faith has been able to grow more since her childhood. She speaks in the book about the lessons God has taught her through her experiences, which was nice to read.
I enjoyed reading about all the dedication and work that goes into becoming an Olympic medalist. I knew it was hard, but didn't quite comprehend just how much goes into such a goal. While reading the book, I could see how Shawn dearly wanted to do well in gymnastics and saw how dedicated she was to her sport. I got inspired to be dedicated to what God has gifted me with, and feel life certain goal are now more reachable having seen how Shawn has achieved much more than maybe my goal might be.
I would recommend this autobiography to any girls who like gymnastics, autobiographies, or to those who have seen Shawn perform and want to know more about her. She was very honest in the book about struggles and triumphs, and I'm very glad I was able to read this book. I enjoyed it and considered it well worth my time. I read it in a little over 24 hours, so this would probably tell you how interesting I found it to be.
I would like to thank Tyndale publishers for providing me with a free e-copy of Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson, to review. All thoughts are 100% honest, and my own.
A beautiful book by an Olympic gold medalist whose wisdom, joy, and inner light are every bit as awe-inspiring as her athleticism.
A real highlight is the section on her floor routine in Beijing: after glimpsing Nastia's score and calculating that the gold was no longer within her own reach, she went on to give the performance of her life, winning the all-around "in the way that meant the most to [her]." Afterward, a reporter had the gall to ask how it felt to lose. She replied, "I didn't lose. I wont the silver medal." Another later asked, "What was the worst moment of the Games for you?" She answered, "I didn't have a worst moment--it's the Olympics, after all! I gave my heart and soul out there."
At the end of each chapter, she includes a lesson, such as "Learn to find pride in your own success, even if your accomplishment isn't recognized by others. Your worth isn't determined by the color of the ribbon around your neck or anything else someone might give you. God created you in his image; that is where your worth comes from."
She went on to win the gold in beam but still views that silver medal as "the most meaningful thing [she] took away from the Games" and "wouldn't trade it for anything."
Being a gymnast, Shawn Johnson has become one of my biggest idols and huge inspirations. I watched her win her Olympic medals in Beijing 4 years ago, and then watched her be the youngest competitor on Dancing with the Stars and win the championship trophy with Mark Ballas. She isn’t just my idol, but is an idol to many other gymnast and people all over the world. In her new book, she describes her successes and failures in her life of being an Olympic gymnast. Her first coach told her mom that she had no potential in gymnastic; so she switched gyms and Chow became her coach. Throughout the book, Shawn explains how she was always in a dilemma: wanting to win gold and wanting to be just like everyone else. She also wrote how her parents, love, and faith had encouraged her to live her dreams. I really liked how she ended each chapter with “Lessons I learned” and included her own poems throughout the book. Winning Balance is a very moving book because it tells the life of a ordinary girl who became an amazing role model.
Gets an extra star because I'm a fellow Iowan and Shawn really is one of the best ambassadors of Iowa we could ask for.
For everyone else, it's probably a 3-star book. Shawn opens up and lets us know what it was like behind the cameras during the Olympics and during "Dancing With the Stars". (Short answer: not as glamorous as the rest of the world was probably led to believe.)
She includes some of her poetry, which again gives us some perspective into her emotions and thoughts during various moments in her life, but it's also very typical of what you would expect a teenagers to write. We won't be speaking of Shawn Johnson, poet laureate any time soon.
She doesn't really get into any negatives too deeply, and I feel that it's something that's lacking in her story. She talks about the stalker that had plans to kidnap her, but it all sort of happens, then gets dropped by the side until the court date, and she mentions that she had a hard time with it, and then it drops again. She talks about how she had to have a bodyguard in LA, but there's no mention of whether a bodyguard continues to be necessary. It's something that really should shake up any young woman, but we don't really get much from her about this or any other dark moments in her life. She focuses primarily on the good stuff, and while that fits in with the title of the book, it makes this hard to call a true memoir or autobiography.
I found this book easy to read and very enjoyable. It was great to get a glimpse into the life and mentality of a young gymnast. I remember watching and cheering for her in the Olympics - she was my favorite gymnast that year. She was very honest and open about her doubts, fears, and disappointments - both before and after the Olympics - which made you feel like you were sitting at a coffee shop talking with her. I was surprised by how much of the book was about her life after the Olympics. It was interesting to hear about the struggles and attempts to find a new purpose and balance in life after her gymnastic career was over.
In Winning Balance, Shawn Johnson has written about her successes and failures in her life of competing in the Olympics. Shawn started practicing gymnastics in a small town in Iowa. The first gym coach she had told her mother that her daughter had no talent in gymnastics. Eventually her mother decided to move her to another gymnasium. Shawn stepped into the place she was intended to be. Chow became her new coach and he began teaching her the proper way to handle and compete in gymnastic. Chow was an influential gymnastic teacher in China before he formed his own gym in America. God was directing both of their steps for His ultimate purpose to come to pass. This book covered the entire journey that lead to her winning a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. She shared about her faith and how she remained in balance throughout her life. She has had to struggle with injuries, overcoming adversity, living a normal life, and life decisions. After the Olympics, she even starred on Dancing with the Stars and took home the championship trophy.
I would recommend this story to anyone who loves watching the Olympics competitions. Even if you're not fan of the Olympics you will still benefit from reading this book. The book is a magnificent example of never giving up on your dreams and settling for just enough in life. Working hard and going after her dreams proved to help Shawn achieve her best life. Difficult times may come but we have a decision to stop and quit or to keep pressing on. When she competed in the Dancing with the Stars competition fear almost got the best of her. A stalker came to the ABC studio and he crossed the fence but he was apprehended. He was planning to kidnap Shawn and make her marry him. They found a gun, a knife, a bulletproof vest, zip ties, and duct tape in his car. Reading this part of the story, I could sense the fear that she was facing. There were times she wanted to leave and quit the competition for her safety and protection. Satan tried to cause her to give into fear and run but if she did she wouldn't have won the competition. She would have also let the stalker win and control how she lived her life. I immensely enjoyed the section after each chapter entitled, "Lesson I've Learned". Living out these principles can change your life. If you're looking for an inspiration story then this one will greatly encourage you.
Tyndale House Publishers/ Tyndale Momentum has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Winning Balance, is written by Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson. When I first picked this book up, I don't think it ever left my hands. This book is meant for all ages because Shawn talks about chasing after your dreams and I believe that anyone can still chase after their dreams no matter what age you are, anything is possible.
Shawn takes you through her life in West Des Moines, Iowa, which includes her training practices, life at home, and life outside of the gym. As the reader, Shawn makes you feel like you are there with her every step of the way, especially when the biggest moments arrive, which for Shawn was the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won gold on the balance beam, and silver in the all-around team competition and all-around Individual. You get to experience what it's like repressing team USA and what it's like living in the Olympic Village. I got so into the book that when Shawn was describing her competing my heart started to pound because I was feeling the nerves for her and the amount of detail that she described, her being up on the beam and hearing the US National Anthem play, was amazing.
Life after the Olympics for Shawn wasn't all that glamorous, except for that fact that she won the coveted mirror ball trophy from winning Dancing with the Stars. Shawn experienced some scary, frightful incidents that involved a creepy stalker and an accident that faced her with the reality of maybe never being able to do gymnastics again. Did Shawn ever step back onto the beam let alone the gym? What happened with her stalker? You'll have to read and find out! Cuddle up to a warm blanket and steamy cup of hot cocoa, but before doing that make sure to punch your ticket back in time to the 2008 Beijing Olympics to join Shawn on her crazy adventure!
The authors hope and dream is to compete professionally and then onto the Olympics in the sport of gymnastics. When she was just a tot her career began at Chow's Gymnastics and Dance Institute. At home in Iowa she was a normal girl whose life was balanced, she kept a journal, watched cartoons and had a pet named Dude. She loved every aspect of gymnastics and she possessed the dedication and fortitude to succeed.
I enjoyed reading about what a typical day was like for a gymnast and the rigorous schedule she kept. This charming book is an inspiration to other young athletes. Quite refreshing was reading her testimony and how faith has made an impact in her life. I was entertained getting to know this personable young woman through her writing and would recommend this book to others especially to young girls who need direction and encouragement on how to have winning balance in their lives.
First sentence: The first score I ever received was given on January 19, 1992, at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines.
Premise/plot: Winning Balance is an autobiography of gymnast Shawn Johnson. Most of the chapters conclude with a 'lessons learned' feature. Partially this is a spiritual autobiography as well. Johnson includes in her life story her spiritual testimony. How much is 'spiritual' and how much is plain and simple biography? I'd say the spiritual aspects of it are like the toppings on a sundae. I would say it's definitely for gymnastics fans. (She's not John Owen.)
My thoughts: I love, love, love gymnastics. I do. I've watched it since the late 80s and it's a sport I'm passionate about. So I was definitely engaged with this one. It was quite a change from the biographies I read on Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller. Of the three coaches, I think Shawn Johnson's comes across best.
“To my parents, for never leaving my side. You have always believed in me, supported me, picked me up, and brought me back down to earth when I needed it.” – Shawn Johnson. Winning Balance is a biography written by Olympic gold medalist, silver medalist, and Dancing with the Stars champion, Shawn Johnson. Winning Balance is a good quick read for gymnasts or Summer Olympic lovers. This book is about the road to the Olympics for Shawn and what she had to sacrifice to get to her main goal, the Olympics. In the book I learned that Shawn is a unique person because she has a very strong passion for what she does. It was hard to keep up with the gym and with her public schooling, but she seems to do both just fine. Shawn says “Gymnastics taught me everything-life lessons, responsibility, discipline and respect.” I highly recommend this book to gymnasts or if you want to learn more about what it takes to become an Olympic gymnast.
Before I read this book, I had known Shawn Johnson only as the Olympic Gold Medalist. When I saw that she had written a book, I immediately wanted to read it. However, whenever I went to the bookstore, I couldn't find it. This went on for a while, and I eventually forgot about it. But just recently, I got my hands on a copy at Barnes and Nobles. So I got it. I read it in just a few days, and loved it. It's really interesting to see more than just the gymnastics side of Shawn's life. It was interesting, but never got boring. When it came to the gymnastics competitions, I thought it was cool to see what the gymnasts were actually feeling. On a video, they look perfectly calm and composed. Not always the case. It was cool to get a behind the scenes glimpse of what's actually happening at the competitions. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it.
It's so refreshing to read about a mid-western girl, make it to the big leagues, accomplish her goals, overcome her downfalls & still keep her mid-western, small town attitude & show her love for family & God. These are the people that deserve all they have been blessed with. This book told a story of the ups & downs if both fame & being an unknown. Shawn Johnson is truly an American role model for all kids & some adults could learn a bit too;-) Cuddos to her parents for raising such a great girl!
I've never been this much inspired by a book before. This (book) is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced. Sometimes smiling, laughing, exciting, sometimes feeling tears in my eyes, sometimes feeling deeply inspired, I got the life lessons Shwan wants to give. Thank you to Sanntint who recommended this book to me. I'm confident that I can also recommend Winning Balance to everyone.
This is my third time reading this book, but I'm still as inspired by it as if it were my first time reading it. Shawn Johnson includes relatable life lessons at the end of every chapter and inspiring quotes at the beginnings. It's so amazing to think that almost everything she writes about in that book happened to her when she was younger than I am right now. The sentences sometimes were a little short or oddly strung together but that didn't take away from the message of the book.
I mean...this book wasn't really that great. But if you're a fan of Shawn Johnson, curious to hear about her experiences, and don't care about particularly beautiful or insightful writing...then you'll enjoy this. I did. :) However I wish we'd gotten a few more details. Most of the book was surface level description of events.
Before I read this I thought that Shawn Johnson was an amazing young women and I only believe that more after reading this. I am so sad she had to retire from the sport but I can certainly understand why. She is a good idol for all the young ladies to look up to.
Although the insights into Shawn's training and competitions were interesting, the entire book reads like a twelve-year-old's Bible camp scrapbook, including prayer/poetry bookends and a "Lesson I've Learned" after each chapter, of which there are many.
I love gymnastics so I had a feeling I'd love this book. Great story about a girl who found an outlet for her energy. I love how her parents always supported her but never pushed. This is a fun and entertaining read.
The autobiography of Shawn Johnson was the book I chose to read for the month of October. It was written by Shawn Johnson herself who is currently still living. I was supposed to read this book for the month of September but i wasn't to committed to finish reading it, therefore I finished it for this month's reading. I read about 2 chapters a day and I mostly read it on my way to school or before going to bed.
From this book I learned the following:
1) "Sometimes not knowing the future is a gift." We all have the desire at some point in our lives to see what is going to happen next after attempting something that is out of your confort zone or just trying something new. That is when doubt comes in. Will I fail? Will it turn out ok? or what if? I believe that everything happens for a reason and that not ONE human is perfect. That is why I believe that sometimes we just have to stop, take a breath and let things work out as they should. But I do think that we should go to sleep each day thinking that we gave our 110% of effort. And If things don't workout, It's because maybe something better is coming or maybe it was just better for you.
2)"I gave the impossible a shot." Reaching for things that is out of our confort zone is a big challenge for every person. We all have different talents and fears. Some of us are good at math, or at sports. We are all different. But we can do whatever we want if we set our minds to it. Doing something impossible might bring fear and doubt. People might tell you that you can't do it, or that you are wasting so much time doing something that isn't good for nothing. But you have to be determined and fearless if you want to do the impossible. Even later those people might be looking up for what you did, and most importantly YOU will have the best feeling in the world that you did something that no one else had done before.And if you fail, Well at least you tried.
3)" Don't let anything hold you back from following your heart and taking a leap of faith." This is one of the most important things for reaching your goal. First, you have to find something that you are truly passionate about. Something that motivates you to better and will help others around you. Because if you work on something that you don't like, you will have no motivation and no goals you would like to accomplish. Also having full confidence in yourself and ignoring what people say about you is very important. Because if you decide to let those comments affect you, you will be affected. But if you just ignore them, you will keep improving and believing in what you believe.
B) THIS BOOK AND MY HEREO'S JOURNEY
This book carried many lessons and quotes that I really loved. Most importantly I could relate a lot to her in many situations that she went through in her carrier. At first she didn't believe in herself, but her coach "Chow" sent a video to another good coach and that is also how she got really good training. From this I noticed that If you want to be the best, you have to work with the best. Be with people who are going to motivate you and give you the best advice that they can. And I think I have to do the same. (Find a good mentor or coach)
Secondly I remember that there were many times in which she ad to take small choices that later affected her greatly. For example never missing practice, eating healthy, getting good rest and missing sleep overs or birthdays in order to get good rest and at the next day at practice she would be full of energy. I also go through the same because when I have a party, I have to take the choice to skip it in order for the next day my voice will be at it's best condition for my class. finally i think the choices are our to make and if we take the wrong ones we get what we are meant to get from what we did.
C) MY ASSESSMENT I would really recommend this to any person who wants inspiration and advice on the course of reaching their dream. It is very inspiring and motivating to get to hear her story. How she started off and what she is currently doing after the Olympics. As I said it leaves many resourceful lessons that you can use and relate to.
In the story,” Winning Balance” by Shawn Johnson an autobiography about Shawn’s life. Shawn lived West Desmoine and grow up there. When Shawn was little her parents put her into Gymnastics as something safe and for her to release energy. They never thought that it would go any farther. When her parent realized that this was something that Shawn wanted to pursue, they needed to go somewhere were they believe in what she was capable of doings. That when she came to Chows. They owners were a married couple from China, Chow and Le. Chow was a former national competitor in Beijing. Shawn had practice 6 days a week. The next stage for her would be to become an elite gymnast and go to Karolyi’s camp and practice with other elite gymnasts, and that is exactly what happened. After being at Karolyi’s camps she was now on the USA gymnastics junior national team. She was super surprised that she made the team because most girl had when to Karolyi’s camp when they were seven and eight. People were supper surprised when a girl out of nowehrtr was doing so well, after she got third in all around. Shawn had gone back to Karolyi’s camp to see if she could make the USA Olympic team and go to the 2007 and 2008 Olympics. She made the Olympic team and had to train more than ever, but chow and her parents both wanted her to have a normal childhood and to focus on school. Most gymnast are homeschooled or go to online school, but not for Shawn. She only trained for 23 hours a week when other girl we practicing for 40 hours. When the Olympics came she had gotten second in all around. Reports kept asking her if she was upset about loosing. Shawn was not upset she was proud.she had gotten second and another member of the USA gymnastics team had gotten the first. This was the first time in gymnastics history that any country had gotten second and first. During the Olympics she could not see her mom and dad a lot so she would talk to the USA cycling team that’s hotel room was right below them. The beam was Shawn’s last try to get a gold. It was on the beam. She had won the gold. During her last few day Shawn had realized that she had feeling for one of the cyclers from the USA team. He had taken her out many times but it was not a date. On Shawn’s last day in Beijing she kissed him. Her very first kiss. When she came back from the Olympics school was top it the same going to a public school so she started doing online school. She also did many interviews with Ellen or on the red carpet. When she came back home Shawn had received many award. Shawn has always wanted to be one Dancing with the Stars, so she asked her manager to asked Dancing with the Stars. She ended up being a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Something scary that happened while she was on Dancing with the Stars was that she had a creepy stalker who had wanted to kidnap her, marry her, and to kill her. Her mom went into protective mode and gave Shawn her own bodyguard. After winning the Mirror Ball Trophy Shawn came home and realized that she had gained many weight. So she got a personal trainer and started working out. One day her trainer introduced her to Ryan- a football player at the University of Iowa. Shawn had begun to date Ryan. His family had taught Shawn to have faith. On day Ryan’s and Shawn’s family had went to Colorado to a ski resort were Shawn tore her ACL, MCL, and her meniscus all at once. Shawn had when through surgery but would not be patient for the healing process and when back to hard core training at the Chows. They she ended up having to have another surgery. After waiting for her muscles to heal, Shawn had begun to start tracing again for gymnastics. She accidentally slipped out that she might be completing at the 2012 Olympics in London. Then one time at Starbucks one person had said to her that you should not look at what you can do but what you have done. This is what changed Shawn’s mind that she might really want to compete at the 2012 Olympics. Shawn signed a deal with Nike that would change the rest of her life forever.