So, what’s more challenging—competing in the Olympics or Quickstepping on Dancing with the Stars? Shawn Johnson is one person who can answer that question, as she’s excelled in both venues.
At 20 years old, gymnast Shawn Johnson has accomplished a lifetime of achievements including an individual gold medal in the balance beam and three silver medals in the individual all-around, floor exercise, and team categories at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In April 2009, Shawn was named the 79th Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Sullivan Award recipient, one of the most prestigious honors in amateur sports. At the age of 17, Shawn became the youngest ever contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, where she danced her way to becoming the Champion of Season 8.
After a two-year hiatus from competitive gymnastics, Shawn returned to training in 2010 in an effort to make the 2012 Olympic Team. Just weeks before Olympic Trials, she was forced to withdraw due to injury and retired from the sport. Shawn hopes to attend an Ivy League school and would like to study business, medicine and to own a gymnastics facility some day.
Shawn’s second book, Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far About Love, Faith and Living Your Dreams, was published in June 2012. Her first book, Shawn Johnson, Olympic Champion-Stories Behind the Smile was published in January 2009.
Shawn is involved in a number of philanthropic activities such as working with animal and children’s charities, working with cancer charities, particularly those that affect women and children, and is a strong advocate of health and wellness initiatives. Shawn is also involved in programs that help build good character amongst youth across the country.
Derek Hough, the only three time champion in franchise history of the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars, started dancing in his hometown of Salt Lake City, UT, at age 11. Just one year later, he moved to London to live and train with the top dance coaches in the world and attend performing arts school where he studied theatre, music and dance.
A multi-talented entertainer and three-time Emmy nominee, Hough recently took a season off from Dancing with the Stars to film his first feature film starring role for director Duane Adler and producer Robert Cort in Cobu 3D: New York Nights. Acting opposite Korean pop sensation BoA, Cobu tells the story of star-crossed dancers in New York find themselves at the center of a bitter rivalry between their brothers' underground dance clubs. Hough performed in London's West End where he starred as the male lead in the critically acclaimed stage version of Footloose, was one of the featured dancers on the Dancing with the Stars Tour and a choreographer on the BBC (UK) hit show, Dance X.
With celebrity partners on Dancing with the Stars that have included Joanna Krupa, Lil' Kim, current host Brooke Burke, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennie Garth, Ricki Lake, Maria Menounos and recent champions Nicole Scherzinger and Jennifer Grey, Hough is best known for his innovation and daring choreography on the show. His work has brought him Emmy nominations and inquiries from the film and music world regarding his dance knowledge and ability.
In addition to choreographing the hit music video “Parachute” for British popstar Cheryl Cole, Hough performed live with her on her 2010 concert tour in England and France to rave reviews and standing ovations.
Hough’s professional ballroom accolades include, World Under 21 Latin American Champion, Two-time Open British Champion (Blackpool), Two-time International 'Open to the World Champion' and Two-time US Open Champion.
Although Derek has taken the Mirror Ball Trophy home three times: we're sure he'd like to add one more trophy to his mantle from the All-Star Season.
• World Under 21 Latin American Champion
• Two-time Open British Champion (Blackpool)
• Two-time International 'Open to the World Champion'
• Two-time US Open Champion
• Maria Menounos
• Ricki Lake
• Jennifer Grey
• Nicole Scherzinger
• Joanna Krupa
• Lil' Kim
• Brooke Burke
• Shannon Elizabeth
• Jennie Garth