Olympic gymnast Brandy Johnson of Apopka, Fla., has retired at age 17, leaving the sport she loves at the pinnacle and with no regrets.

A nagging and painful hip injury, which would require a minimum of three months' rest, and Johnson's realization that she had met her goals made the decision easier than she had feared."I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't have any regrets," Johnson said Friday, two days after telling her coach, Kevin Brown, and 13 years after she first tumbled on a Tallahassee mat as a way to strengthen her muscles following kidney surgery.

At Seoul, Johnson placed 10th in the all-around competition, the best finish ever by an American in a non-boycotted Olympics. In 1989, she placed seventh at the World Championships and won a silver medal on vault. She was fifth at the 1990 World Cup in Brussels, Belgium.

Locally . . .