Olympic Gymnast Shawn Johnson Retires at 20 & Gets the Chance of a Lifetime (VIDEO)

shawn johnsonSo many of us dream of the day when we can finally retire -- but can you imagine giving up your life's work at only 20 years old? Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson sure can -- because it's her reality. And while leaving gymnastics behind for good due to a knee injury has to be somewhat devastating, she really does seem to have a positive attitude about moving on with her life.

In a conference call, she said:

I'm scared to death to know what the future holds because it's kind of a blinded road I've never thought about, but I'm excited as well. I'm ready to start the journey.

She also added that she has plenty of goals, and knows she can do anything she sets her mind to -- once she figures out exactly what that is.

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Wow. I can't even imagine how hard the realization that her career as a gymnast is over for good had to be for Shawn to accept. She's spent the better part of her life putting every ounce of time and energy into the sport, and now she's left to start over with a completely clean slate. It's definitely a bittersweet moment in her life, any way you look at it.

But honestly, how many of us would love to have the chance to begin our professional lives over again? Achieving the kind of success Shawn did at such an early age is so rare -- and now she gets to choose an entirely new path to follow. I think we all have days when we'd love to have a "do-over," right?

And while some of her immediate aspirations include doing charity work, coaching summer camps, and going back to school, I can't help but wonder if she's considered signing on for the All-Star season of Dancing With the Stars. If her knee can handle it, doing the show again might be kind of a fun way to kick off her new journey. If nothing else, it will give her a taste of competition again -- and get her geared up and ready for a new and exciting phase of her life.

You can hear more about Shawn's early retirement in the video clip below.

If you could start your life's work over again, what would you choose to do?

 

Image via Paul Zimmerman/Getty

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