Star Gymnast Attracts Fans and Sponsors

Coke, Adidas love 16-year-old gold medal favorite
By Erin Mendell,  Newser User
Posted Mar 1, 2008 7:18 PM CST

Corporate sponsors like Adidas and Coca-Cola are latching onto a tiny gymnast with a towering talent named Shawn Johnson, the Washington Post reports. The smiling 16-year-old shares "brand attributes" with Coca-Cola like "genuine" and "fun," one exec says. She is also the world's reigning gymnastics champion and gold-medal favorite in Beijing this year.

Her parents took Johnson at age 6 to a gymnastics class in West Des Moines, Iowa, to give her an outlet for her boundless energy. Now on top of her game, she is trying to maintain perspective. "I'm pretty sure there's going to be more competition out there just because now I am the one to beat," she said. "I realize that. I accept that. But I'm still out there to try to beat myself, basically."                                                    (Read more gymnastics stories.)

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