Shawn Johnson at 17 has accomplished a great deal in her young life. She won one gold medal and three silver medals at the recent 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. She had previously won three gold medals at the World Championships in 2007, and four gold medals and a silver at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Due to her sports accomplishments, she has appeared in advertising for several companies, including Covergirl, McDonald’s, Ortega, and Secret. She has also had a day named in her honor in her home state, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention on August 28, 2008, and has appeared on numerous talk shows, including Today, Live With Regis and Kelly, Ellen DeGeneres, CCTV, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and also The Late Show with David Letterman. She appeared on the current season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show along with other members of the Olympic Team. She participated in The Tour of Gymnastic Superstars and had a guest appearance on the season finale of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She appeared on a special for breast cancer on NBC called Frosted Pink with a Twist, and headlined the Progressive Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular which also aired on NBC in January. Shawn Johnson recently published a book about her life so far and she is involved with several charities, including the What You Do Matters charity for women’s cancers, the Exercise Your Character program, and she partners with Crest to promote dental health to low income children. She also worked to raise money to help repair her home state of Iowa after massive flooding. She is now the youngest contestant to ever appear on Dancing With The Stars.
Somewhere along the way, she apparently caught the attention of a man named Robert O’Ryan. O’Ryan is thirty four years old and from the state of Florida. O’Ryan has become obsessed with her and on Tuesday, March 24th, he was arrested after scaling a fence at CBS Studios where Dancing With The Stars is filmed. When approached by the studio security, he claimed he was there to meet Shawn. After Shawn denied knowing him, he then claimed to be there to meet Steve-O but none of Steve-O’s people knew of him either. He then alledgedly admitted to LAPD that he had packed all of his belongings and left his home in Florida to come to California to be with Shawn. He is reported to have said that he feels he was meant to be with her and to have a child together, and that she communicates with him through the program and through ESP.
The police discovered both a shotgun and a 45 calibre handgun in his car, both of them loaded. His car also had duct tape, Shawn Johnson sports memorabilia, and love letters. The report filed by the CBS security team states that he was carrying an expired concealed weapons permit. It’s a scary thought that at some point he was able to legally obtain a gun permit. Little is known or has been reported about O’Ryan at this point. He is reportedly from Yulee, Florida, an area of around 9,000 residents in Nassau County. It is what is termed a census designated place, in that it resembles a town or municipality but it has no local government. The area is next to Fernandina Beach and has recently become the center of economic growth due to the rising land and home values because of the close proximity of the beach. The local citizens are mostly high school educated, and the main economy consists of a large shopping center and some smallere strip malls, plus a world class golf course. O’Ryan is now likely to be their most famous resident.
Shawn’s parents obtained a restraining order against him on Wednesday and wrote in the order that she was in fear of her life. The order was granted and another hearing will be held on April 14 to determine if it needs to be continued. O’Ryan was charged with suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in public. The charge is a felony and he was jailed in lieu of $35,000 bail. There is no word at this point whether or not he has a lawyer. If he makes bail, he is to stay 100 yards away from Shawn and not to try to communicate with or harass her, her parents, or her dance partner, Mark Ballas.
Shawn and Mark tied for first place this past week with triple nines. She is definitely a contender this season. It is a shame that she now has to deal with a very real downside of celebrity. Thankfully, the security guards at the CBS Studios were doing their job. Hopefully, O’Ryan will remain incarcerated and get the mental help he needs and she can safely go on with her life.
on the net: abcnews.com