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Ahead that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, gold medalistShawn Johnson east is looking earlier at her very own time contending in the games as part of the U.S. Gymnastics team.

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The 29-year-old gymnast -- who wongold in ~ the 2008 Olympics forbalance beam, and also silver for team, all-around and also floor exercise -- acquired candid around an eat disorder she emerged at the time throughout herguest appearance ontheDinner Party with Jeremy Fallpodcast this week.


"I am very sad looking ago at that kidthat to be on the Olympic podium," Shawn revealed. "In one sense, ns was therefore healthy. Ns think i was much more mature and I had actually a much better group that people approximately me to attend to everything that i was walking through.For me together a kid, having this thought of, "Maybe if i looked thinner, these judges might like my power better.""

"I didn"t know just how to obtain that an outcome in a healthy way, other than for, "If ns eat less, I"ll lose weight." and because of that, I occurred that eat disorder," she continued. "When I started to starve myself and also jeopardize mine performance, but still victory a yellow medal, the is more than likely one that the worst things that could have happened, due to the fact that that called me it to be worth it."


Shawn confessed the she ongoing to experience from the disorder for rather awhile, especially between her time in Beijing and gearing up because that the London Olympics, and also then again while transitioning right into a much more "normal" lifestyle. The gymnast ended up making the complicated decision to retire prior to the 2012 trials in London began, admitting the she to be "sohappy and so free, to no be a component of that civilization anymore."

"I struggled so much with eating disorders, psychological illness, perfectionism, due to the fact that I was trying to shift from gift what gymnastics would certainly deem as "perfect" to a normal human being," she shared. "The only thing I"ve ever before known because that 16 years, the just thing that I"ve ever before made a decision based off of is gymnastics. Currently that ns didn"t have actually that, ns felt shed as a human being."

"I felt prefer someone had invaded mine mind, and was literally thinking for me. And also it was this energetic effort ns would have to put forward every single day to kind of battle that voice," she added. "And as soon as you acquire tired, girlfriend can"t battle it any type of longer, and also it"s like, "I require a binge, I need a purge, I need to not eat, I need to eat therefore much," and also I would just spiral so lot thatyou lose control as a human."


Shawn has actually been very vocal about her struggles over the years, including in interviews with ET. In October 2020, she spoke about the "scarring moments" that brought about her eat disorder because that an episode of ET"s Unfiltered.

"I had someone within my gymnastics community tell me the work of mine Olympic competition, the job of all-around, "You"re overweight. The judges aren"t going to favor it. You"re no going come win due to the fact that of it and you should"ve operated harder,""she recalled. "And i remember, together a 16-year-old kid, that was just this scarring moment for me. Spring back, the shook me because that a second, yet then i was like, "You recognize what? I"m really an excellent at what i do and also I"ve to be winning this competitions, and also I"m right here for a reason.""

"It sort of shaped who I am today," she continued. "Because who tried informing me an extremely early on that since of who I was, what ns looked like, how I acted, i wasn"t walk to end up being something. And it"s been my mission in life come prove human being wrong now, which i love."

Last April, Shawn additionally spoke come ET around how large of one impacttheTokyo Olympics gift postponed a totality year (due come the coronavirus pandemic)could have on both the body and performance the thegymnasts looking to compete.

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"It"s difficult to put into words how an upstream athlete has trained their whole life for a concrete day and time, July 2020, and also to now have that datemoved has actually basically taken some people"s life work-related andput it up in the air," she explained. "I couldn"t imagine that happening in 2008; having actually to comprehend that holy ghost andphysically, then re-strategize and also go back to the illustration board. However I likewise think that because every one of the athletes space in the same boat right now, come 2021, we space going to see several of the strongest, most courageous andversatile athletes we"ve ever seen in history."

Hear an ext in the video below.

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