October 17, 2007, is "Shawn Johnson Day" in Iowa
posted on 10/17/2007
Shawn Johnson

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 17, 2007 – Before a crowd of hundreds of Iowans, including gymnasts from Central Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver greeted 2007 world all-around champion Shawn Johnson at the Iowa State Historical Building and proclaimed Oct. 17, 2007, "Shawn Johnson Day" in the State of Iowa. Johnson won the all-around title at the 2007 World Championships, 2007 Visa Championships, 2007 Pan-American Games and the 2007 Tyson American Cup.


Former gymnast Jeriann Ritter from WHO TV 13 in Des Moines hosted the ceremony in the atrium at the Iowa State Historical Building. Johnson, a West Des Moines native, was accompanied by her parents, family and her coaches Liang Qiao (Chow) and Liwen Zhuang (Li). Students from Valley High School, where Shawn is a sophomore, along with more than 100 gymnasts from area gymnastics clubs, attended the event.


"Shawn Johnson is an amazing young woman," said Governor Culver. "Her awards and honors are many, and I congratulate her for all she has done in her 15 short years. She is a role model for thousands of girls in Iowa and millions more around the country and the world.  I am proud that she represents herself, her family, her state and her nation with grace and dignity.  We wish her the best of luck as she heads to Beijing, China for the 2008 Summer Olympics."


"Everything that’s happened to me is so overwhelming," said Johnson. "I thank Governor Culver for proclaiming today ‘Shawn Johnson Day.’ It’s such a huge honor and I am grateful that so many people came out to celebrate with me. I’m so proud to be from Iowa!"


Also today, adidas announced a major sponsorship deal with Johnson. adidas has a long history of supporting Olympic athletes since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. adidas is an official sponsor  of USA Gymnastics and an official sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


"What better day to announce our partnership with Shawn than on ‘Shawn Johnson Day'? We are thrilled to welcome her to the adidas family," said Martyn Brewer, director of sports marketing, adidas America. "Shawn’s dedication and humility is an inspiration to athletes around the world. She embodies everything that is good in sport and her story exemplifies the Impossible is Nothing spirit."