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U.S. gymnastic queen Johnson feels pressure from herself
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09:22, August 08, 2008

U.S. gymnastic shining star Shawn Johnson said Thursday that she feels not too much pressure before the Beijing Olympics and the pressure comes more from herself.

"I feel a little pressure, but not too much. As for pressure, I think it comes more from myself. I want to make my teammates happy," said Johnson at a press conference after a podium training in the National Indoor Stadium.

Johnson added she does usually feel nervous and excited ahead of important international competitions, but that will not make a sleepless night for her.

The 16-year-old girl claimed the women all-around title in the 2007 World Championships. She wished she could defend the world title at the Beijing Olympics. On her expectation in specific events, Johnson believes she has better chance to win a medal in balance beam or floor exercise.

"I have been working really hard and, honestly, I couldn't have put in any more preparation. I want to go out there and do my best and know I gave it everything I had. In the end, that's enough," said Johnson.

In an interview with Johnson's coach Liang Qiao, the former Chinese national team member, Qiao said they usually asked Johnson not to take any specific person as a major rival. "The largest opponent is herself. That is we usually tell her," said Qiao.

As Qiao is from Beijing, Johnson said this Olympic Games will be special for her as it is going to be held in the home city of her coach. "Qiao and I have talked about China and Beijing, but not very much. Tomorrow I will go shopping to purchase something with Chinese characteristics," said Johnson.

On the U.S. team spirit, the leading gymnast said, "We're feeling great as a team. We've been working really close together. During all of the practices we cheer each other on, help each other out through the hard times, and take care of the small details. We're like a big family. We couldn't love each other any greater. We just want everyone to go out and do their best, and that will make all of us happy."

Johnson took Chinese leading gymnast Cheng Fei as a tough competitor, but she did not have much contact with Cheng due to a communication problem.

During the podium training on Thursday, Johnson has intensified her practice in floor exercise, balance beam and uneven bars. In the three events, she did her routines at least twice. "I love practicing and that pushes me forward," explained Johnson after the press conference.

In the 2007 World Championships, Johnson became a gymnastic legend with a marvelous rise. She not only helped the United States win a team gold but also by herself became the queen in floor exercise and all-around.


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