Shawn Johnson Cruising with ‘DWTS’ Stars on Holland America
Add Shawn Johnson to the list of Dancing with the Stars veterans who will be sailing on Holland America ships this summer.
The Seattle-based line says the Olympic gold medalist and season eight winner of Dancing with the Stars will perform on three of the line’s previously announced Dancing with the Stars: At Sea voyages.
Johnson will be aboard the 1,350-passenger Veendam’s June 22 sailing and the 1,916-passenger Oosterdam’s June 30 and July 7 sailings.
Johnson won season eight of Dancing with the Stars with professional partner Mark Ballas, who also will be sailing on the June 22 departure.
The Dancing with the Stars-themed cruises will feature dance lessons, a chance to meet and take photos with the dancers, and a production show starring dancers and celebrities from the show.
Also scheduled to sail on the June 22 voyage of the Veendam is dancer Chelsie Hightower, and dancers Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus will be aboard the Oosterdam’s June 30 and July 7 sailings, along with celebrity Carson Kressley.
Holland America plans more Dancing with the Stars theme cruises in 2014 aboard the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam.
A new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres on March 18 on ABC.
‘Dancing With the Stars’ cruises to feature gymnast Shawn Johnson
Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson will set sail on three “Dancing With the Stars: At Sea” cruises offered this year by Holland America Line. Passengers will see Johnson, who won four medals in Beijing in 2008 and was a “DWTS” champ in 2009, perform aboard ship and appear at photo and autograph sessions during two weeklong sailings to Alaska and one to Canada and New England.
Mark Ballas, Johnson’s winning partner on “DWTS,” will appear on one of the cruises tied to the popular TV show. In designing activities for the cruise, Holland America collaborated with dancers and choreographers from the show, which starts its 16th season on ABC on March 18. Dance lessons from the pros and an on-board dance-off are some of the planned activities.
Two theme cruises tour Alaska, starting in Seattle and sailing the Inside Passage with stops at Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada. A third cruise starts in Quebec City (with Ballas on board) and calls on ports at Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in Canada as well as Bar Harbor, Maine, and Boston.
When: Alaska cruises depart June 30 and July 7; Canada cruise departs June 22.
Price: Alaska cruises start at $1,099 per person, double occupancy; the Canada and New England cruise starts at $749 per person, double occupancy. Cruises include cabin, meals and on-board entertainment; flights to and from departure cities aren’t included.
Contact: Holland America Line, (877) 932-4259, or contact a travel agent.
Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson on running, fitness and weight gain
Olympic gold medal gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champion Shawn Johnson admits she has never been a runner. Ever. But once she retired from competition, Johnson made a fitness bucket list and wrote down crazy running-related goals like “half-marathon,” “marathon” and “Ironman triathlon.”
“I always thought the only way to get fit and to have the body you want was to be miserable while running on the treadmill for an hour or two,” said Johnson. “But I’m converted. I’m not phenomenal but I fell in love with it. It’s a great way to clear your head.”
Johnson, who already has two half marathons under her belt, will be in Chicago on Sunday hosting the Nike Women 10K, a 6.2-mile race that starts at 10 a.m. at the Nike Training Club in Lincoln Park. Johnson and her trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, will run with 100 other Chicago women who earned a spot by committing to run an upcoming race.
Though the event is full, the first five women to tweet their upcoming race commitment to @ntclincolnpark will get a free race entry.
(If you are not running the Chicago event, and want to do it on your own — or find other cities hosting the event –more information is at the Nike Women 10K site. It’s free but if you want the t-shirt, the fee is $40. Nike says it will donate $10 of each $40 race entry fee to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.)
Johnson, who now lives in Los Angeles, talked with me by phone this morning about whether it’s OK to pass her in the run, her biggest passions and her struggle with weight.
Q: Who got you started running?
A: (She laughs.) Me. During my gymnastics comeback in 2011, I was going through a hard time with my knee. (In 2010 she tore her left ACL while skiing). I was frustrated with my sport. Running wasn’t the best thing for me, but it gave me an outlet to let out my frustration. I’d run at night (in Des Moines). It was pitch black out and I loved it. It was the most freeing experience. Since then, I’ve stuck with it.
Q: Have you ever led a race before?
A: It’s a little bit intimidating. I feel like I’m going to be dying a little bit. But it’s exciting. If anyone wants to run past me, they are more than welcome.
Q: Have you worked out yet today?
A: I had a long day of training yesterday; today should be more relaxing. I just started heavy training again about a week ago. In a normal week, I work out every day. On Sundays, I do yoga or something relaxing like going for a hike. I do cardio four of five days a week; the other days are sculpting and things like cardio kick boxing. I don’t use weights at all.
Q: Really? Why not?
A: As my mom said, I was born with muscle, so I don’t need to work on it. I just look at weights and start bulking up.
Q. How different is your training compared to when you were competing?
A: It’s night and day and that’s honestly how I want it. My goal was to learn how to train for fitness and not competition. I want to be fit and healthy outside my sport. I’m trying everything, learning by trial and error to find out what works for my body and what doesn’t.
Q: What motivates you now?
A: My two biggest passions are fitness and kids. There’s something for every kid out there; they just aren’t all given the ability to find it. I’m working toward helping with that.
Q: How has your body changed since you retired from gymnastics?
A: Like nearly every woman in the world I’ve struggled mentally and physically with weight. Unfortunately, I was in a sport where it was ingrained that we had to be perfect. Perfectionism is like a drug; it’s addictive and hard to get rid of. When my sport left me, I became a normal person. I didn’t think I was perfect anymore. I’m still trying to break that mentality. I took a couple years off of working out. I thought I could eat whatever I wanted and I learned the hard way that I can’t. Mentally and physically, I’m trying to find a healthy, happy place. It’s difficult, especially because the elite mentality is embedded in you.
Q: If you hadn’t hurt your knee, would you still be a gymnast?
A: (She pauses.) Everything happens for a reason. I can honestly say I was ready to be done. I don’t think my heart and mind were in it anymore. I was getting to a place where it was a little too unhealthy. I saw that and for me it wasn’t worth it anymore. The smart part of me, the angel side, was saying ‘there’ s more to life than that perfectionism.’ It was healthier for me to get out of it again.
Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson reveals how she stays in gold medal shape
Although she’s now retired from gymnastics, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson hasn’t given up her focus on staying fit and fabulous. She hosts the Nike Women 10K in Chicago on March 10, and will run the 6.2-mile race with her trainer, Jeanette Jenkins. Author of a book about her Olympic journey and quest for a healthy, happy life entitled “Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams” (click here to learn more), Shawn recently dished to the Chicago Tribune about her workouts and weight.
Shawn typically works out every day. “On Sundays, I do yoga or something relaxing like going for a hike. I do cardio four or five days a week; the other days are sculpting and things like cardio kick boxing,” she said. Her trainer Jeanette Jenkins is famed for her emphasis on cardio, which makes her a perfect fit for Shawn. Jeanette has even created a series of exercise DVDs, such as Crunch: Super-Charged Kickbox Party (click here to learn more). And Shawn’s enthusiastic about the March 10 run, saying, “It’s exciting. If anyone wants to run past me, they are more than welcome.”
When it comes to her weight, Shawn admits that it remains a struggle. “Like nearly every woman in the world I’ve struggled mentally and physically with weight,” she confesses. “Unfortunately, I was in a sport where it was ingrained that we had to be perfect. Perfectionism is like a drug; it’s addictive and hard to get rid of.” After retiring from gymnastics and experimenting with eating “whatever I wanted,” she realized that she needs to continue to watch what she eats. “Mentally and physically, I’m trying to find a healthy, happy place,” Shawn reflects. “It’s difficult, especially because the elite mentality is embedded in you.”
Oh, the places Shawn Johnson has gone
From left, Shawn Johnson and fellow gymnasts Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci pose with First Lady Michelle Obama on July 27, 2012, in London. / Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports
AGENT: COLLEGE STILL IN PLANS FOR OLYMPIAN SHAWN JOHNSON
The landing spot for one of America’s most famous prospective college students is likely to be decided quickly.
Shawn Johnson, the gold and three-time silver medalist in gymnastics at the 2008 Olympics, has talked about attending college, but her time has been consumed with two appearances on the popular television show “Dancing With The Stars” and other projects.
Now, though, the where-to-lug-books decision is nearing.
“She still loves Stanford and she loves Vanderbilt,” said Sheryl Shade, Johnson’s agent. “She’s talking about UCLA, too, since a lot of what she does puts in her in L.A.
“I pushed for somewhere like Northwestern, since it’s closer to home, but we’ll see. She wants to get a business degree.”
Asked when Johnson will decide, Shade said: “Soon.”
Shade said travel and project commitments would mean Johnson might have to do some university work online.
“I hope at some point she could be a bit of a normal college student,” Shade said. “I would love for her to live on campus, but who knows. She’ll have to decide that, because she’s a busy girl.”
Shade said Johnson is on the verge of inking a deal with Memphis-based Varsity Spirit Corporation to provide analysis on national cheerleading competitions on ESPN channels. Johnson worked on the most recent high school championships, which will air later this month.
Johnson also is likely to do more blogging for ESPNW and would be open to on-air work with ESPN and NBC, which used her as part of its Olympics coverage last summer in London.
…Sitting at a table in the Warehouse District of New Orleans early last month, world-famous chef Emeril Lagasse joined Shawn Johnson as she ate at his restaurant.
On the same trip to the Super Bowl, former NFL all-pro Terrell Owens gushed on his Twitter account that he was “posing with the opposition” next to Johnson at a light-hearted celebrity football game. The young woman from West Des Moines mugged for more photos with rapper Snoop Dogg — or Snoop Lion, or whatever he wants to be called these days — and casually talked with every Manning in sight, whether the name was Peyton, Eli or Archie.
That’s just a one-weekend snapshot of Life as Shawn Johnson.
It’s not the only image, though.
“We still have people stalk our home, and just drive by over and over,” said Teri Johnson, Shawn’s mother. “I’ve had a lot of people just come to the door, ‘Is Shawn home?’ They drive here from out of state, then get upset if she’s not available.”
Doug Johnson, Shawn’s dad, said the attention has yet to fade — more than four years after winning a gold medal and three silvers at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“They’ve left envelopes and letters and things to sign at the front door,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time, people are great, though.”
Since that four-medal haul in China, Johnson has competed on “Dancing With The Stars” — not once, but twice (winning the first) — worked as a presenter at the Country Music Awards, paired with Major League Baseball legend Rollie Fingers for the first pitch at an All-Star Game, and on and on.
And on. And on. And on.
On Friday, Johnson received the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award at the Iowa Hall of Pride in downtown Des Moines. As Johnson stood with the former Iowa governor, the million-dollar smile no worse for the well-traveled wear, it felt a little mind-numbing to soak in where this celebrity thing has taken her.
Just more than a month after becoming legal to buy a drink in a bar, Johnson’s photo album surely is on the verge of bursting from the sheer glut of famous-ness in her wake.
Michelle Obama, Emmitt Smith, Serena Williams, Dr. Oz, Ryan Lochte — if only to mention some since late last year. Johnson has been on Katie Couric’s talk show, premieres of everything from “Twilight” to “Star Trek.” She’s attended the Teen Choice Awards, Miss America contest and most recent X Games.
Johnson and actress Kirstie Alley consider each other friends and routinely talk after bonding on America’s most famous dance show. At one event, the head she tried to glimpse past in the seat in front of her belonged to actor Samuel L. Jackson.
That’s a lot of life already packed into a 4-foot-9 body.
The groans are almost audible as people read: “Tough gig … Geez, I think I could find a way to suffer through it.”
Celebrity has enriched the lives of the Johnsons, no doubt, be it in experiences or bank accounts. And make no mistake, the family would not consider complaining for a second. They discussed it only when directly asked what it’s like when athletic success and television fame reshapes lives.
What began with years of sweat-equity sacrifice to become one of the world’s elite athletes opened doors that still astound the central Iowa family.
Some of the doors amaze — and some, well, amuse.
“The guy from, what’s that ‘YMCA’ group?” said Teri Johnson, pausing to scan the memory banks. “The Village People. It was the Indian. He crawled through all these people (at a DWTS event) and said, ‘Can I get a picture with you?’ I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
Doug Johnson, one of the most unassuming people anyone is likely to meet, always tries to drift into the background. Even he, though, succumbed to one moment on his daughter’s roller-coaster ride.
“The only person I went up to, and this is going to be funny,” he said.
Teri began to smile: “You shouldn’t have this in the paper. What does this tell about you? Typical male.”
Doug: “What’s her name?”
Teri: “Tia Carrere, when she was on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ ”
Doug: “I like all her movies.”
Moments later, Johnson stood shoulder to sternum with Iowa’s former governor for an award that reinforced that, despite all that’s crazy about her life — and surely, crazy-good in almost all ways — she’s held it together, not once causing Iowa to blush red in embarrassment.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a down side or negative (about the celebrity), it’s just something you have to get used to. Your life is on a platform,” Johnson said.
“People are watching every single move you make, so you constantly have to be conscious of everything you’re doing and saying.
“Everyone has a phone with a camera these days, so that can get a little exhausting. Not every moment of your life someone captures is going to be true to who you are. So you have to be aware and try to be the best you you can be.”
Johnson could very well be the state’s most famous native of her day. The list of contemporary stars from Iowa lights a very small galaxy. Ashton Kutcher? Kurt Warner?
Even Ray, the former leader of the state, acknowledges Johnson’s unparalleled reach and recognition. As the ceremony Friday began to end, Ray said: “I want to thank you for letting me have my name associated with you (on the award).”
Jack Lashier, director of the Iowa Hall of Pride, said the $36,000 bronze statue of Johnson on a balance beam is the most photographed and hugged thing in the building, “without a doubt.”
It’s just another day on Johnson’s road, where talent followed by immense fame changed so much — without the ability to change one thing.
When the press conference cameras faded, Johnson tries to make a nervous girl comfortable in a moment in a quiet corner of the Iowa Hall of Pride — where she thinks no one is watching.
“What’s your name?” Johnson leans down to ask, as the girl inches slowly closer. “It’s really nice to meet you.”
Forget Emeril and Peyton Manning. This was the real photographic moment.
Orchestra Students Head to England – Thanks to Shawn Johnson
Students in the highly regarded orchestra programs at Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School will be traveling abroad and performing with their counterparts in England and Wales as part of the Olympic Dreams Live program.
The two West Des Moines schools are among 45 schools from around the world who were selected by the British Council and the British Broadcasting Corp. to be part of the program, which pairs schools Olympic athletes have attended with schools in the United Kingdom, according to a story on the district’s web site.
Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, who also won three silver medals in gymnastics competition the 2008 Beijing Olympics, attended both Valley Southwoods and Valley High School.
The orchestra will travel to Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Valley Southwoods’ partner school, to perform a combined concert with students at the school. They will continue a tour of the United Kingdom isiting and performing in Wrexham, Bath, Oxford and London. A highlight of the trip will be when students enjoy a private tour of the Houses of Parliament in London with friends from Ysgol Bryn Alyn with a select group performing for the Houses.
Valley Orchestra Director Phil Peters said trips overseas are invaluable learning opportunities
“Not only will they have the pleasure (and pressure) to perform four concerts within a week but they will also be exposed to a new culture,” he siad. “Our students on this tour will travel in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and The Beatles. They will participate in a home-stay with the kind and generous people of Wrexham, Wales. They will tour the House of Parliament and spend time sightseeing in England. Their gifts of music will be shared with others and allow them to meet and make friends from “across the pond.