Iowa's sweetheart prepares for Dancing with the Stars - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's sweetheart prepares for Dancing with the Stars

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Shawn Johnson won the hearts of the nation -- along with a gold and three silvers -- at the summer Olympics last August.

Now, Iowa's golden girl is working to win the nation's hearts again, while "Dancing with the Stars".

Shawn and her dance partner, Mark Ballis, train five hours a day.

"It doesn't seem like 5 hours," said Johnson.  "We have something we're working towards."

"She's incredibly visual, focused," said partner Ballis.  "She wants to learn. She's doing well.  I would never know she's only 17."

Dancing with the Stars is a popular show. But Shawn Johnson was a prime time star in the most watched television event in history, but dancing makes shawn more nervous.

"I definitely get more nervous," said Johnson.  "This is something i'm not used to.  I'm going to be shy. Try not to be actually.  A lot of the dances are romantic, serious, which is hard for me because i'm either focused, or I'm really smiling."

"There are times we have to look at each other, and she busts up laughing," said Ballis.  "We're working on it."

But, no one wants to see Shawn Johnson stop smiling. That million watt smile charmed fans and judges throughout the world as Shawn worked her way to Olympic gold. If she can dance on a four inch balance beam, does that make the Foxtrot a walk in the park?

Even if gymnastics doesn't help much with dance. Dance could help Shawn win more gold.   In Beijing, the judges favored elegant artistry over athletic tumbling.

Johnson is both the youngest and shortest competitor in dancing with the stars history.
This season's premier is March 9th at 7 p.m.

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