Shawn Johnson Wants to Keep Dancing, But What About Gymnastics?
Shawn Johnson won with the smallest margin of victory in Dancing with the Stars history, so it was fitting she was also the smallest dancer. Armed with a killer Paso Doble, and a perfect freestyle and cha-cha, Johnson triumphed over season-long front-runner Gilles Marini by less than one percent. "It's slowly starting to sink in. I couldn't believe we did it at first," Johnson tells TVGuide.com. The gymnast is the third Olympic champion to add a Mirrorball trophy to his or her list of accomplishments, but does she plan to return to winning medals? Find out about her post-Dancing plans, as well as her thoughts on her last dances and near wardrobe malfunction.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations! You looked so surprised to win, but I think Mark [Ballas] was more shocked than you were.
Johnson: [Laughs] Thank you! We hoped we would win, but we didn't know what was going to happen, especially when they said it was less than one percent of a difference. Who would think that they're that one percent higher? Right before we went out, Mark told me he's proud of me and so happy with everything we've done and we're already winners. Then you're standing there, the music's going and your heart's beating, so it just adds drama. Then they said my name and I just started screaming! It was crazy!
TVGuide.com: Your freestyle was probably the highlight of the week, but it seemed like you had trouble in the beginning shedding the clothes over your costumes.
Johnson: [Laughs] Oh my gosh! Yeah! I was, like, ripping them off as I was jumping off the stage. But those clothes were going to come off no matter what was going to happen. It's one of those things where the Velcro's really good, I had adrenaline and was a little frantic, but I got it off in time. We had such bright and fun costumes that we didn't want to spoil it by coming out in them, so we decided to cover them up.
TVGuide.com: And you didn't want to include too many gymnastics tricks.
Johnson: Right. People know I can do gymnastics. I don't really think it's impressive to come out and do something you know you can do. I wanted to show people what I've learned and how far I've come, so we incorporated a little of everything. It was hard! We only rehearsed the whole thing, like, twice. We marked it most of the time. We just kind of went for it on the last time.
TVGuide.com: You were the only one to repeat a dance, the cha-cha, that you didn't get a 30 on the first time. Do you think that was a smart tactic?
Johnson: I thought so. I really wanted to take something and make it better, whereas if you have a 30, all you have to do is stay the same. It was the dance we got our very first 10 on and it was our favorite dance, so we could spice it up a little more and come out even better. We were going for the 30 and I thought we improved, so I think we deserved it.
TVGuide.com: What was it like having Apolo Anton Ohno visit you?
Johnson: Oh, it was awesome! I met Apolo once before and he's such a nice guy and for him to come to our rehearsal and give us helpful tidbits and stuff was really sweet. Especially since he's an Olympian, he knew exactly what to say to make me feel better. He motivated me when he said no Olympic gold medalist has ever lost in the finals. I mean, it definitely adds pressure. I was like, "Thanks for that!" But I knew I could use it to motivate myself.
TVGuide.com: How did it feel to get roasted by Jeffrey Ross?
Johnson: We were so nervous going into it! We were all freaking out since we didn't know what he was going to say. It wasn't too bad. I think it could've been a lot worse. He didn't have much time, but I was fine with the way it went.
TVGuide.com: Which one is more important to you: your gold medal or the trophy?
Johnson: [Laughs] Oh gosh! I don't think you can compare them. One's for your country, so I don't think I can choose! I'm going to put the trophy in my room, probably, where I can see it and [it'll be] near my medals. My medals got me here.
TVGuide.com: Most contestants vow to hang up their heels after the show. Are you going to keep dancing?
Johnson: I would love to keep dancing. Mark and I have events we're going to dance at. There's a winter tour we might do and stuff next season. It just depends, but I would love to keep dancing.
TVGuide.com: What about gymnastics?
Johnson: I will go back and see if that's what I still want to do and if that's where my heart is. It's all about finding something I enjoy that makes me happy. I haven't decided on 2012 yet since I haven't really been in the gym.
TVGuide.com: So what is next for you?
Johnson: I don't know! Honestly, I'm just taking it one day at a time. I've been getting a lot of opportunities — books and TV shows and stuff like that — so it just depends on what I want to do. I don't even know [what show I've been offered]! [Laughs] I don't know if I'm going to do it. We'll see!