The Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy opened in July 2020 offering a safe and supportive space for all gymnasts and ninjas.  

Says Dawes, “We aspire to inspire today’s generation of gymnasts in a safe, caring, and uplifting environment. Our athletes will develop the characteristics and self-confidence to reach their fullest potential in and out of the gym. Our desire is to plant seeds of empowerment, all while teaching quality gymnastics, fostering friendships, and building memories that will last a lifetime."

Dominique Dawes

by Claudia Hudson from Los Angeles, California in United States

"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.

142408Dominique DawesJohn Mathew Smith - Flickr [Public domain]An outstanding athlete and world-class competitor, Dominique Margaux Dawes has broken both athletic records and racial barriers as a renowned Olympic gymnast.

Known for her spirited and explosive tumbling, “Awesome Dawesome,” as she is lovingly referred to, became an international force to be reckoned with by her early teens.

Born November 20, 1976, Dawes showed a natural athletic ability, and became involved in gymnastics 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, another African-American gymnast. 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.

Two years later in 1996 Dawes returned to the Olympics 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 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, and even in a music video for Prince. (In 2006 she would once again appear in a music video – this time as hip hop star Missy Elliot's Olympic coach!)

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.

From 2004 to 2006, she served 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.

Page created on 8/17/2014 12:49:55 PM

Last edited 11/10/2021 2:02:38 PM

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Related Links

Go Girl Go! - An award-winning project of the Women's Sports Foundation, combines physical activity with an educational intervention that focuses on reducing and preventing health-risk behaviors for girls.
Dominique Dawes -
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Extra Info

Some of Dominique Dawes' greatest moments:

1996 Olympic Gold and Bronze Medalist (Team & Floor)
1996 Individual Event World Championships Bronze Medalist (Beam) and Finalist (Bars)
1994 Team World Championships Silver Medalist
1994 National Champion (all-around and four events)
1994 World Championships Event Finalist
1993 World Championships Silver Medalist
1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist
1992 National Uneven Bars Champion
1992 World Championships Team Member