Black History Month: Dominique Dawes

Dominique Dawes and Gabrielle Douglas (photo courtesy of Dominique Dawes Facebook page)

I remember being a little girl and watching gymnast, Dominique Dawes on television. She was an excellent gymnast. When I would try and do flips like her, my grandfather would tell me to stop before I broke my neck, lol. I remember seeing the determination in her eyes, and I loved it. I never became a gymnast, but I enjoyed watching Dawes because I saw myself in her.

Dominique Dawes gave every Black girl who flipped or tumble salted on a mat, hope that they could become a gymnast. Dawes paved the way for women like Olympic gold medal winner, Gabrielle Douglas.  She was a 1992 Olympic medal winner. She was also a member of the 1996 "Magnificent Seven" United States Olympic Team. The other 6 members included Shannon Miller (another favorite), Kerri Shrug, Dominique Moceanu, Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, and Jaycie Phelps.  Dawes made history as the first African-American female to win an individual medal. She was also the first American to win a medal in 3 games.  Dawes went on to compete in the 2000 Olympic games.

Dawes is now a motivational speaker, gymnastics coach, media analyst, and naturalista. The Olympian did an interview on Fox Sports to show her support for Gabrielle Douglas. She advised Douglas to keep God first and be true to herself. I think that was the best advice she could have given her. Dawes went natural back in 2011. The Olympic gold medal winner tweeted that maintaining her natural hair was an adjustment, but she was committed to staying natural.

Click here to see a video of Dominique Dawes' 1996 Olympic Floor Event.

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What do you remember most about Dominique Dawes?

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