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Shawn Johnson East brings children to meet her Olympic gymnastics coach

The YouTube video uploaded Monday shows the gymnast introducing her children to her “second set of parents” at Chow’s Gymnastics & Dance in West Des Moines.
Credit: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP
Shawn Johnson East participates in the "Adventure Capitalists" panel during the CNBC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Shawn Johnson East returned to the mat Monday – this time, with two kids in tow.

The Iowa native and former Olympic gymnast brought her children, 11-month-old Jett and 2-year-old Drew, to West Des Moines to meet the man that coached her up to the biggest stage in the world.

Johnson East is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and earned silver medals in team, floor exercise and all-around.

The YouTube video uploaded Monday shows the gymnast introducing her children to her “second set of parents” for the first time at Chow’s Gymnastics & Dance in West Des Moines. Liang Chow and his wife first met Shawn when she was only 5 years old.

“I trained with them for 15 years. They are truly some of the most special people in my life, and they had never met our kids because of COVID, because of everything,” Johnson East said in the video. “I never had the opportunity to introduce them or get back to Des Moines.”

Chow shared her Facebook post, thanking the family for coming by and having the kids try out the equipment.

Thank you Shawn Johnson East and The East Family for stopping by!! ❤

Posted by Chows Gym on Tuesday, July 19, 2022

And try they did – both Jett and Drew explored different parts of the gym, with Drew playing on the trampoline and attempting somersaults as Jett teethed on the bars. 

Johnson East and her husband, Andrew East, said it took a bit for the oldest to warm up to Chow, but they were best friends soon after. Jett even took his first steps while at the gym. 

For the reunited coach and gymnast, the visit brought up memories of growing and learning together on the road to the Olympics, with Johnson East emphasizing just how much she still loves and trusts her old coach.

"I want Drew and Jett to do whatever they feel called to in life - whatever sport, hobby, passion, activity," she said. "But if either of them choose gymnastics, there's nobody else in the world I want to coach them but Chow."

Watch the full video below:

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