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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Olympic gold medal winner returns home

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DES MOINES - The hysteria continued Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Arena, where the gold-medal-winning gymnast was feted with a reception worthy of a rock-star.

Johnson, 16, won one gold and three silver medals at the Olympics. Iowa has seen Johnson in several iterations: her ever-present grin at the Beijing Olympics, a bronze sculpture in the Iowa Hall of Fame, and an all-butter representation kept in a cooler at the Iowa State Fair.

Though Johnson seems acclimated to the spotlight, her father Doug Johnson seemed less so.

Asked about the experience in Beijing, he said "It's been really weird," and compared the Chinese media to the American paparazzi.

The crowd stood and cheered for Johnson's parents. It gave a standing ovation to her two coaches and roared at a replay screen showing Johnson's highlights.

And when the 4-foot-9-inch gymnast took the stage it was pandemonium.

Babies were bounced, little girls screamed and young men near the rafters held up signs proposing marriage.

Johnson was asked repeatedly about her prospects for the 2012 London Olympics. Her coach Liang Chow said she will take some time off before considering her next step.

"We would like more Olympics," Chow said.

Johnson is scheduled to begin a 40-city gymnastics tour next week.

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