The last time we sat down with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, she was twenty years old and just beginning to find her way in a life defined by more than her career as a world-class athlete.
“As a sixteen year old at the Olympic Games, I found my validation – I found my purpose – through achievement in gymnastics, and I felt like my ultimate purpose was going to be fulfilled if I won a gold medal. Fast forward to the Olympics, I was standing on the gold medal stand, I had the gold medal around my neck and I felt purpose-less…I turned to God at that moment and found value and validation through Jesus.”
Since the release of her first film with I Am Second, Shawn met and married NFL long snapper, Andrew East, who was on his own journey toward discovering a deeper value and purpose for his life outside of his sport.
“I had the opportunity to play NFL football…and right off the bat, every day I thought was a day that I was going to get cut…It’s taken me two years to fully realize that my worth is not in football.”
Shawn and Andrew found love and contentment in their life together; they found new challenges and opportunities in their work, and after years of fearing that her intense athletic training meant she would never have children, Shawn discovered she was pregnant.
“When I found out I was pregnant it was the greatest moment in the world because it was basically God’s miracle of, yes, you’ve hurt your body for so many years, but this can still happen.”
The next day, Shawn miscarried. As they moved through all the complicated emotions of loss – guilt, grief, vulnerability – Shawn and Andrew found that something incredible happened when they chose to share their story with the world.