Shawn Johnson

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The U.S. Olympic team has officially lost one of its hopefuls—20-year-old gymnast Shawn Johnson announced her retirement from the sport today.

Johnson, who has four Olympic and three world career medals, has been making a comeback from a knee injury since 2011, but the rigorous training proved too much for sports star.  

"I still have the heart, drive and desire to compete and help the USA at the London Olympics," Johnson announced in a statement Sunday. "Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my left knee is not able to sustain the demands of gymnastics any longer."

Although Shawn won't be competing in the games herself, she's still determined to support her fellow teammates in London:

"I am announcing this now so the focus for the next three weeks will be on the incredibly talented gymnasts who are trying to make our 2012 Olympic Team," Johnson said. "I have had the honor to train and compete with them, and I am excited to join the gymnastics family and fans in cheering them on to victory. I will be there with every ounce of pride and energy to cheer on my girls and Team USA."

As for Johnson's future plans? The young athlete isn't letting her early retirement hold her back and she looks forward to the future as her body begins to heal:

"Looking to the future, I have many goals and plans I want to pursue," said Johnson. "I am going to college, want to work with philanthropic foundations, and hope to inspire new generations to follow their own dreams and pursue their passions. I also will continue to be involved in the growth of gymnastics because it has been an important part of my life for 15 years. I am very excited about starting the next part of my journey."

According to Fox News, Johnson sustained the knee injury after a January 2010 ski accident and as she increased her training for the summer games, her condition only worsened. Although Shawn has a positive outlook and hope for the future, she admits the decision to retire from the sport was never easy:

"It's been a really hard decision. How can you tell yourself, 'No, I think it's time to say it's finally done,'" Johnson told Fox News. "I'd like to be 30 and have kids and run around with them. It became more about my future life than this future one moment. I'm looking at the bigger picture of things."

In addition to her four medals from the 2008 Olympic games, Johnson also won her season of Dancing With the Stars in 2009.

Best of luck, Shawn—we look forward to seeing you cheer on Team USA!

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