The dark and ugly truth behind winning at the Olympics

As Shawn Johnson was handed the silver medal at the Olympics, she was told two words that shattered her world.

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  • Seconds before Shawn Johnson stepped on to the spring floor, the gymnast before her earned such high marks Shawn knew gold was out of reach. However, as a gymnast in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she offered a gold-medal-worthy floor routine.

  • Johnson finished the competition with three silver medals and one gold. But, despite her successful performance, she felt a weight fall on her like a ton of bricks. Three silver medals and one gold was not good enough. She had not lived up to her own expectations as well as the expectations America had set for her. She was supposed to come home with four Gold medals.

  • "I felt like I had failed the world," said Shawn.

  • As the announcer called her name, she bowed her head to be offered the coveted silver medal and the event host said, "I'm sorry."

  • Those two words confirmed all her fears: She was not good enough.

  • The days, months and years that followed that memorable day were filled with criticism, self-doubt and insecurity.

  • In her "I Am Second" interview, Johnson explained the moment she decided to rely on her faith in God to help her find the strength to change her perspective and find her own happiness.

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Hannah Rose is a content writer for Deseret Digital Media. She loves to run, sing and dance in her spare time.

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