Shawn Johnson sat down with Teen Vogue, and talks about handling pressure.
Shawn Johnson: I do! I think if you are given the opportunity and privilege to be placed under pressure, it means someone believes you have the ability to compete in whatever field that might be. Pressure is only put on those who are striving to be better and are being chased by competitors. So, yes, I agree with Billie Jean and think pressure is a privilege and is only felt by those who are constantly striving to be better.
Teen Vogue: Do you know many technically brilliant gymnasts who simply lacked the psychological strength?
Shawn Johnson: I know countless. I also know countless others in differing sports that are the same way. Yes, elite athletes and gymnasts train thousands and thousands of hours to perfect the body that will help them succeed, but that’s honestly the easy part. Training your mind is a whole different game. Learning the skill to shut off pain, shut off distraction, shut off temptation and doubt, turn off fear, and push past any normal human boundaries our bodies are naturally hard-wired to have is the by far the hardest part of elite athletics. Many people have the body for it. They just don’t know how to train their minds to match.