Shawn Johnson Receives Award, Talks About Life After 'Dancing with the Stars'
Kris De Leon
Kris De Leon
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson was given the Robert Ray Pillar of Character Award by the Character Counts organization to honor her accomplishments and for being a role model.  Since becoming a professional athlete Johnson has been involved with numerous charitable causes, including serving as a spokesperson for awareness of women's cancers and dental health, just to name a few. To receive the award, which is given to one recipient every year, the 17-year-old athlete returned to her hometown in Iowa where she further talked about her stint on Dancing with the Stars. 

While it doesn't guaranteed a spot on the finals, history has proved that being an athlete is certainly an advantage on Dancing with the Stars. Not surprisingly, Johnson has emerged as one of the frontrunner of season 8 - something she didn't expect to happen at all.

"My biggest fear going into dancing was that I wouldn't be able to dance," Johnson said. "So I've surprised myself by making it this far, and I hope I can stay on longer."

Just like gymnastics, performing on Dancing with the Stars is a full-time job that requires a lot of patience and painstaking training.

"I work out in the morning and then we do rehearsals anywhere from five to eight hours a day, and then interviews and press afterwards. That's Wednesday through Sunday," said Johnson, who performs live on the show on Mondays and Tuesdays.

While her chances of lingering on the competition are high, Johnson is already pondering about life after Dancing with the Stars.  

"My whole life, I've been Shawn Johnson, the gymnast," she said. "Now I'm expanded from that and have become something different."

"After this, I go back to training to see how my body takes back to it and if my heart is still in it, and if I want to take that path," she added. "[I'll] just take it a day at a time."

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)