Olympic Gymnast Shawn Johnson Shakes The Critics; Sheds The Weight

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson has raised a few eyebrows as her new slender frame has become the newest talk of the tabloids.

Losing 25 lbs as a result of her attempt at an Olympic comeback, Johnson says it wasn’t always easy seeing the media talk about her weight.

“At my heaviest all the tabloids said some pretty hurtful things,” said Johnson.

The 2012 London Olympic hopeful says people were used to her 6% body fat while she was competing, and that they weren’t as understanding of her junk food days.

“That whole process kind of broke me down and taught me something,” Johnson said Monday at the Olympic Media Summit.

“People put too much emphasis on looks.”

Being a professional gymnast, Johnson finds herself in the middle of a sport where body image, weight and overall health are scrutinized in the worst way.

In particular, gymnasts find themselves fighting battles against anorexia and bulimia on a daily basis, so Johnson’s feelings resonate in a special way.

“We’re taught at such a young age that you can always be better and that you’re never perfect and that you’re never good enough,” she said. “You find your worth in someone else and what they say just from having looked at you. It’s hard. I was at the Olympic Games winning medals and I still doubted my image. I doubted what I looked like. That’s sad. Girls should be taught different than that. I think everyone should be taught different than that.”

Do you feel that Shawn Johnson is a good role model to young teen girls with her message about body image?