Like many famed gymnasts, Shawn Johnson started gymnastics at 3 years old. Johnson’s mom remarked in an interview with the Des Moines Storytellers Project in 2017 that she had too much energy at home and they signed her up for classes “literally out of desperation” (via the Des Moines Register).
She added, “At home, she was a terror, and she was a danger to herself. She would stack her toys and try to get to a higher level, which wasn’t very good. So we put her in this little gymnastics class, and it was just immediately a hit for her.”
When they signed her up for those gymnastic classes, Johnson’s parents never thought she’d become an Olympic gymnast — let alone win gold. They “just wanted her to be somewhere where she was safe, and somebody else could corral it and somebody else could be responsible for it.”
It’s safe to say that the Johnsons don’t have any regrets about putting her in the gym at such a young age given all their daughter has accomplished on the international stage.