Saturday, June 9, 2012

This Book Room: Winning Balance

Twenty-year-old American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. Yet Shawn is no stranger to hard work and adversity. Her loss of the major gymnastics prize everyone expected her to win in Beijing, the all-around Olympic gold medal, was the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. And later, she suffered a potentially career-ending injury in a skiing accident that forced her life to a halt and made her rethink what was really important. She wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She wasn’t sure what her goals were. And she wasn’t sure she was satisfied with where she was with her faith and God. Could she find the right kind of success in life—the kind that doesn’t involve medals or trophies, but peace, love, and lasting joy? This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.           

My thoughts: I always watch the Olympics and as I've grown into my adult years, I literally watch as many hours of it as I can. It is so inspirational to me to see all of these fantastic athletes hoping to bring honor to their families and their countries.

I don't always keep up with who's who in the athletic world, so when the Olympics come around, I'm usually frantically searching online: who the heck is Shawn Johnson? This teeny tiny powerhouse was seriously awesome.

She impressed me four years ago with her determination and power. Then, like most of the rest of the nation, I watched her waltz her way through Dancing with the Stars.

Needless to say, when I heard this past winter that she was releasing a book and then I had a chance to review it, I was beyond thrilled.

Shawn shares her journey and what she's learned about love, life and faith. It shares many of her thoughts and poems leading up to the Olympics, through Dancing with the Stars and beyond.

I feel this book is particularly poignant as this past week, Shawn announced that despite her efforts to try for this summer's Olympics in London, she is retiring. She had torn her ACL during a ski trip and that's a critical injury for a gymnast.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I usually need a box of Kleenex next to me while I watch the Olympics. It's just something about seeing someone's dream come true... I'm usually sobbing through the whole thing. Reading this book and then reading that Shawn is now retired, I cried.

But the good news is that Shawn has such a good head on her shoulders that I know she's going to go far with the rest of her long life {she's only 20, people!}.

This book was fascinating to me, and if you enjoy the Olympics or gymnastics, you will seriously enjoy this book as well. You can check out the book trailer for Winning Balance here and check out Winning Balance's website here.

And if you really love gymnastics and just can't get enough, definitely check out ABC Family's Make It or Break It television series. Unfortunately, the series is now canceled, but there are three seasons on ABC Family's website that you can watch.

Thanks to Tyndale Momentum for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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