Shawn Johnson
© Minkus

STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 7, 2007 – Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, became just the fourth U.S. woman ever to win a world all-around title with her come-from-behind victory in the women’s all-around finals at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, the 2005 world all-around silver-medalist, finished fifth. Steliana Nistor of Romania was second, with Brazil’s Jade Barbosa and Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari, the defending all-around champion, tied for third.


“I think I am still in a magical place, and it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Johnson, who trains at Chow’s Gymnastics.  “(After my floor routine), I just started crying and couldn’t stop. It made me feel so proud to represent the USA, and to get the (all-around) gold medal is an unreal feeling.  It is a dream come true.” 


Johnson joins Kim Zmeskal (1991), Shannon Miller (1993-94) and Chellsie Memmel (2005) as the only U.S. women’s gymnasts to win an all-around world title.


“Both Shawn and Nastia are tremendous champions,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics.  “Their success tonight is a testament to the incredible effort of the entire womens program.  We could not be more proud of their accomplishments.”


Johnson was fifth after two rotations and moved into second behind Barbosa by 0.1 points heading into the final event, floor exercise. After Barbosa fell on one of her tumbling passes, Johnson nailed her floor exercise routine for her second gold medal of this year’s World Championships. She and Liukin, along with the rest of the U.S. Women’s Team, won the team gold medal on Wednesday.


“I was very nervous, knowing that I was that close to a world medal,” said Johnson.  “I just went out and tried to have fun. I felt a little shaky (due to nerves) and I am going to go back and work on perfection.”


Both Johnson and Liukin began the all-around finals on vault. Johnson was the first to go in her group, and had a small step on her Yurchenko double to score a 15.175.  Liukin’s Yurchenko one-and-a-half earned a 14.750.  Barbosa had the highest vault at 15.900 to take the lead after the first rotation, with China’s Yang Yilin (who started on uneven bars) in second and Johnson in third.


Liukin led off on uneven bars with her impressive routine that included an Ono turn with extra half into a layout Geinger, and she had one small step on her double-front, half-out dismount to post a 16.100.  Johnson executed her routine very well, landing her double-twisting, double-layout dismount with one small step to claim a 15.375.  Liukin was tied for first with Barbosa at 30.850, and Johnson was in fifth at the end of two events.


The balance beam again was a challenge to the