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Olympic Champion Gymnast Shawn Johnson Retires Citing Injuries

U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, who won four medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, retired because of recurring knee injuries, ending her attempt to qualify for this year’s London games.

“I still have the heart, drive, and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics,” Johnson, 20, said in a statement through USA Gymnastics. “Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer.”

Johnson helped the U.S. to an Olympic silver medal in the team competition in Beijing and also added silvers in the all-around event and the floor exercise. On the final day of the gymnastics competition, she won a gold medal in the balance beam, joining Shannon Miller in 1996 as the second U.S. woman to do so. Johnson took a two-year hiatus from gymnastics after the 2008 Games before returning to competition.

Her retirement comes ahead of the U.S. team’s Olympic selection camp.

“I am announcing this now so the focus for the next three weeks will be on the incredibly talented gymnasts who are trying to make our 2012 Olympic team,” said Johnson, who also won three gold medals at the 2007 World Championships.

Johnson, who will still travel to London during the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics on behalf of some of her sponsors, said that her future plans include college, volunteer work and a continued involvement in gymnastics.

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