Why has Shawn Johnson not had a post-competitive career within the sport of gymnastics?

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MaryClare

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I was thinking about this the other day. Given that in 2007/08 she was seen the the most marketable gymnast since Mary Lou, why has Shawn’s post competitive career fallen far behind those of her Beijing team mates?

Nastia Liukin created the phenomenally successful Nastia Liukin Cup and is now one of NBC’s main commentators. Chellsie Memmel is a FIG Brevet and is now running the program alongside Alicia Sacramone. Bridget Sloan and Sam Pezsek are both well established on the NCAA media circuit.

Other gymnasts who competed alongside Shawn Johnson include Ashley Priess and Jordyn Wieber, both now head coaches in the SEC.

Edited to clarify

I am speculating on why Shawn Johnson hasn’t had a post competitive career within the sport of gymnastics.
 
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I’m not suggesting that she is in any way unhappy or unfulfilled or that she should have done anything differently. I am only speculating on why she hasn’t had a post competitive career within the sport. I don’t know anything about the non gymnastics lives of the other gymnasts I’ve mentioned.
 
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There’s no drama. Gymnasts go on different paths after their competitive careers end. But Shawn’s post gymnastics life contrasts greatly with that of her team mates which makes her an outlier of that particular generation. It wouldn’t make her an outlier on the Athens team for example, where I think only Kupets has prominent role in the sport today.
 
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the thread or the question, but I think the answer is simple. Shawn just doesn’t really care enough about gymnastics to turn it into a career, she’d rather do other things. I read her book when it came out, only the first few chapters are about gymnastics. The bulk of the book was devoted to her time on Dancing with the Stars with some general religion tacked on to the last couple chapters. In speeches/interviews/youtubes she’s done she can’t accurately remember things that happened during her own time in the sport. I just don’t think it really interested her beyond being competitive and wanting to win things. Gymnastics is what her parents put her in and she was good at it, so she kept up with it. Now she’s done.
 
That’s interesting, because I remember at the time she certainly seemed to have a much more normal teenage life and had lots of friends outside of the gym, some of whom, when interviewed, weren’t really aware of just how high level a gymnast she was. So perhaps it was never really “her thing”. She must have had a crazy level of natural talent to do so
 
I think a lot has to do with her choosing to go down the route of “family influencer” on SM rather than choosing a specific gymnastics related post-career - so rather than commentating, judging or coaching she chose to have an SM/reality TV etc.

She may have had fewer gymnastics related offers due to her and Nastia competing for work at the same time and Nastia having the Olympic gold.

She also seemed keen to market herself together with her husband as the “East family” rather than as Shawn Johnson elite gymnast. Possibly they expected her husbands sporting career as a pro-footballer to take off more than it did (If I remember right he signed for several major teams but didn’t make the cut and was often released after a few months) - so at the time it made sense to brand themselves as “the Easts” a potential sporting power couple. Her husband jumping from team to team probably meant that they moved around a lot - so may have made it difficult (even if she wanted to) to pursue a judging/coaching etc career
 
I think McCool Griffeth is quite highly regarded as an NCAA coach and is likely to have a much bigger influence on the NCAA gymnastics world than Kupets at the end of the day. Granted she is an unpaid volunteer because ugh, but certainly by the time she invests and the results and public comments she’s gotten, she’s a successful coach.

The rest of the Beijing crew either had a strong family connection to the sport, or did NCAA and stayed amateur, or went pro but didn’t have a good Olympics and thus didn’t really cash in. Nobody else was 16 and rich and with no reason to keep training and stay in the sport. The whole NCAA commentary route wasn’t really available until Shawn had already established her next chapter, and even now almost everyone is an NCAA alum.
 

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