The Devastating Incident That Drew This Gold Medalist Closer to God

7:00AM 6/27/2018 Kristin Cole/A. Larry Ross

Much has happened in the two years since U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson released her I Am Second White Chair film in which she discussed her fears of failure and disappointment during her career as a gymnast. Now in retirement and married, I Am Second, a global storytelling organization, today released a new Second Edition film featuring Shawn sharing updates on her joys and struggles from off the mat.

Shawn opens this new film recapping her feeling of a loss of purpose after the 2008 Olympic games and how she rediscovered it through a relationship with God, before being joined by her husband, Andrew East. Sitting side by side, Johnson describes meeting and falling head over heels for Andrew.

Marriage has brought new joys and challenges for Shawn, who in the fall of 2017, experienced her greatest moment of finding out she was pregnant only to experience the tragedy of miscarriage days later.

"I had these guilty feelings that if could not take care of child for one week in my stomach, I couldn't raise a child on my own," Johnson describes in the film. "I felt guilty to Andrew that I had lost his child, and I felt guilty to God that I lost His child. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I have never felt loss like that."

Holding hands and sitting side-by-side, Andrew and Shawn discuss how Scripture and encouragement from others helped them through this hardship.

"No matter what you go through you will always come out of it," said Shawn. "If you believe in Him and have faith in Him you will come out stronger than you were before."

As the 2007 individual all-around World Champion and having won the all-around at the 2008 Olympic Trials, nearly every news outlet predicted then 16-year-old Shawn would take home the gold at the 2008 Beijing games. But despite performing what she describes as the best routine of her entire life, Shawn took home three silver and one gold medal in the Olympic games.

Similarly, Andrew ended his college football career at Vanderbilt University as the highest-rated long snapper in all of college football, yet has struggled to find success in the NFL. In the Second Edition film, Andrew explains how Shawn's Olympic experience has helped him through his own professional football journey.

"In my four years, I've signed six different contracts with four different teams," Andrew said. "It's taken me two years to fully realize my worth is not in football. It's been so wonderful being married to Shawn for a million different reasons but her truly understanding the difficulty I was going through—I'm not sure I could have made it through that first year after being cut without her being there."

To watch Shawn and Andrew's full Second Edition film, visit iamsecond.com.

Second Edition is a new storytelling feature from I Am Second, which is best known for its White Chair Film Series. Through Second Edition, individuals who have shared their story in the White Chair Film Series provide an update to what has happened in their life since its release.

In addition to Shawn, figure skating champion and Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton and hip hop and spoken word artist Propaganda have also released Second Edition films. For more information, visit iamsecond.com/second-edition.

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