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Shawn Johnson back in gymnastics competition as Olympics beckon

July 13, 2011 |  2:03 pm

Johnson_640 It's a year out from the 2012 London Olympics and it is the season when gymnasts with Olympic hopes start to get serious.

For example, 2008 balance beam gold medalist Shawn Johnson, who also won team silver and all-around silver in Beijing, is kicking off her comeback in earnest by competing in the 2011 CoverGirl Classic july 23 in Chicago. Johnson has returned to the gym this year after taking over two years off where she, among other things, won a "Dancing With the Stars" mirror ball trophy.

She will be joined by fellow 2008 Olympians Alicia Sacramone and Chellsie Memmel, who have also indicated interest in competing next year in London.

Also in the field are 2010 world all-around bronze medalist Rebecca Bross and 2010 team silver medalists Mackenzie Caquatto and Alexandra Raisman.

Four Southern Californians are also on the roster of competitors who will be trying to qualify for the Visa National Championships Aug. 17-21 in St. Paul, Minn. The nationals will play a large role in choosing who will compete in Tokyo in October in the world championships. Teams qualify for the Olympics in Japan.

The Californians are: Sophina DeJesus, Temecula;  McKayla Maroney, Laguna Niguel; Jaclyn McCartin, West Covina; and Hallie Mossett, Los Angeles.

The CoverGirl Classic will be at the UIC Pavilion, located on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus.

The Universal Sports network will have two hours of coverage on July 23 both online and on its television network.


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-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Shawn Johnson in 2008. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire