Shawn struck gold on the final routine of her Olympic Games. While standing atop the balance beam, she says there was very little time to think about the bigger picture. "I was just thinking to give it my all," she says. "I only had a few seconds left in that last routine, and I just wanted to finish up my Olympic experience as best as I could."
Though she was thousands of miles away from home, Shawn says she could feel Americans supporting her from afar. "It's the supporters, the fans and the people cheering that really kept me going, and made me want to get back up there and do it as best as I could one more time," she says.
One fan who cheered Shawn on in Beijing was Sanya Richards, a friend, fellow Olympian, and track and field star. Since meeting in 2007, Shawn says Sanya has been a source of inspiration. "We just became really good friends, and she's just been like a huge role model for me," Shawn says. "I look up to her, and she's like a big sister."