Dominique "Awesome Dawesome" Dawes
"The love for what i was doing
... passion for gymnastics,
competing and pleasing the crowd.
Able to last 18 years in the sport
because I loved what i was doing."
-- Dominique Dawes on what kept her motivated.
by Claudia Hudson
An outstanding athlete and
Dominique Margaux Dawes ...
has broken both athletic
records and racial barriers as
a renowned Olympic gymnast.
Known for her spirited
and explosive tumbling,
as she is lovingly referred
to, became an international
force to be reckoned
with by her early teens.
Born November 20, 1976,
Dawes ... became involved
in gynmastics at the age of 6.
By 15 she had become an Olympic athlete,
representing the United States in the 1992
Barcelona Olympics alongside Betty Okino.
Together, they became the first "black"
females to win an Olympic gymnastics medal.
In 1994 she dominated the Coca-Cola National Championships,
winning the 4 event titles and the all-around; the first gymnast
to do so since Joyce Tanac Shroeder in 1969.
1994 and 1995 were particularly spectacular years for Dawes,
throughout which she received a slew of accolades including the
title of Sportsperson of the Year from USA Gymnastics in 1994.
as part of the team coined the "Magnificent 7."
She and the team took home Olympic gold, the first-ever
team gold medal for the United States in gymnastics.
Her floor exercise earned her an individual bronze medal as well
and in doing so, Dawes became the first African-American
to win an individual event medal in gymnastics.
Afterwards, along with the rest of the "Magnificent 7," Dawes
appeared on the coveted cover of the Wheaties cereal box.
Exuding her "awesomeness" both on and off the mats, Dawes, an
honor roll high school student, decided to pursue her education,
and following the 1996 Olympics she enrolled at the University of
Maryland, obtaining her BA degree in Communications in 2002.
She also began pursuing a career in the arts working in acting,
and also dabbling in television production, and modeling.
She appeared in Broadway's hit musical,
`Grease', as well as in Disney Television ... .
She simultaneously continued to train and in 2000, was once again
selected for the US Olympic team which finished fourth in Sydney.
Likewise, with her three-time participation, Dawes holds the
record of any female US gymnast for most trips to the Olympics.
"Awesome Dawesome" continues to live up to her nickname by
giving back to the community.
Since 2005 Dawes has
been giving private lessons
at her home gym.
She serves on the advisory board
for Sesame Workshop's "Healthy
Habits for Life," an initiative to
help young children and their
caregivers establish an early
foundation of healthy habits.
She also served as the national
spokesperson for "uniquely ME!"
The Girl Scout/Unilever Self-
Esteem program, where she
offered tips for girls and shared
about her personal experiences
with issues of self-esteem.
She currently serves as the President of the Women's Sports
Foundation, a 'charitable educational organization dedicated
to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and
physical activity,' alongside other outstanding female athletes.