In 2008, at just 16 years old, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson won four medals including one gold for Team USA at the Beijing Olympics. While the world watched Shawn excel on the outside, internally she was privately suffering from a severe eating disorder. Societal pressures and public scrutiny only worsened her insecurities around weight and it would be years before she realized that she could even ask for help. In this episode, Shawn tells Alex about her incredible highs and lows as a teenager in the spotlight, and how she finally found mental and physical health, as well as career success, after finally learning to ask for help.
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02:43 – Childhood in gymnastics
04:40 – When gymnastics began to feel like a job
08:00 – When gymnastic pressure built up
10:45 – When her eating disorder began
13:45 – Pressures of Olympic experience
18:00 – Who Shawn talked to about mental health at 16
21:00 – Accident that changed everything
25:00 – Moment Shawn realized she was treating body poorly
29:30 – Why Shawn felt worthless post-retirement
34:00 – How Shawn maintains healthy mental outlook now