Shawn Johnson takes on Apolo, gives Bruce Jenner dish

Shawn Johnson gets to know the athlete side of fellow Olympian Bruce Jenner.

I've had a lot of awesome experiences in London, from live-blogging the women's gymnastics final to joining TODAY.com as a special Olympic correspondent. I've also gotten to hang with some really cool people along the way. Here's a little name-drop of some of my favorites so far:

Bruce Jenner: I never thought I would meet Kim Kardashian’s dad, least of all at the Olympics! I was talking to a true athlete. And that's not what I expected: He’s put on such a Hollywood pedestal. I always saw him as an entertainer in the tabloids, not an athlete. Talking to him, he’s incredibly humble, and respects athletes more than anybody. He gained my respect, hearing about his story and where the games took him. 

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

Who'll win at a "Dancing with the Stars" rematch? Shawn smack-talks Apolo Anton Ohno.

Apolo Anton Ohno: I haven’t seen Apolo since Vancouver. The first thing I said to him was, “I’m going to beat you on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’” He said, “I have to get to the gym.” I told him I’ve been training here every day in London, and he got super motivated, and competitive, almost mad. He’s a phenomenal athlete.

Venus Williams: Before meeting her, I was intimidated. She and her sister Serena seem so intense, especially on TV and in their sport. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she was very quiet, almost reserved and extremely sweet. She couldn’t be prouder of her sister and everything she’d accomplished. It was shocking to meet someone who has a  competitive demeanor, comes off as very aggressive and see that in person, her personality and character is so quiet.

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

Shawn with Ryan Lochte, who she says is "very humble" in person.

The Lochte family: I first met the Lochtes on TODAY a couple of months ago. I love Ryan’s family. Ike is the mom everybody wants. She never stops smiling and giggling; she’s adorable. They are extremely supportive and proud and not afraid to show it. It comes across in his performance. He’s showy on TV but he’s very humble in person. His style is...very different. He’s very sweet. He’s worked really hard for what he’s done. He’s devoted a lot of time and effort, and he’s got true class the way he does everything.

@shawnjohnson/Instagram

Shawn Johnson tweeted this pic with Shaun White, at the women's gymnastics finals.

Shaun White: He’s one of the biggest athletes in the world. And still, he walked into the women’s gymnastics all-around competition, wearing a suit, walked straight into my aisle, hugged me, and sat down like he belonged there. He had a sincere interest in the sport and wanted to know about the scoring. He knew the girls from watching the 2008 team, and he was jumping up and down screaming when Gabby won. He related his sport to ours; we talked about how we warmed up.

Michelle Obama: She remembers every face, everyone she meets. At the Let’s Move events, she spends time with every kid, makes a point to engage people. What surprised me the first time I met her is how tall she is! She had watched me in 2008, and was honored to have me as part of the campaign. She was so proud of me  sad that I had retired, but happy that I was doing something that loved and not beating myself up anymore. That's crazy, because it meant the first lady of the United States followed my story. (At the last Let’s Move event), she beat me at tennis. If I had to play her again, I would win at arm wrestling. I've got guns.

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

Shawn with Savannah, jumping for TODAY.

Savannah Guthrie: She’s genuinely interested in every athlete that’s come on the show. From my view backstage it looks like she works her butt off. She’s humble and smiling and knows every story, does her homework, and knows every face and name. I idolize the role that she’s in. I hope to have a job like hers!

Gymnast Shawn Johnson, TODAY.com's special correspondent, won a gold and a silver medal in Beijing. 

More: Check out all of TODAY.com's Olympic coverage!
11 pictures of people jumping for joy at the Olympics! 
Shawn Johnson: Athletes 'should censor themselves' at the Olympics 
Bruce Jenner: Ashton Eaton is greatest US decathlete ever 
Video: Venus Williams: 'Awesome' to win gold with sister 
Video: Michelle Obama: Olympics 'awe-inspiring' for me 

 

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