Photo Credit: Courtesy of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Dominique Dawes - coach for the iVillage Get Moving Now Community Challenge - is a co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, and best known for her tremendous success as an Olympic gymnast who competed in three Olympic Games, won three medals and has a permanent place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame. Fans across the nation and around the world remember her as a member of the gold-medal-winning "Magnificent Seven" at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she also won a bronze medal as she wowed the crowed with her stunning performance in the floor exercise, becoming the first female African-American gymnast to win an individual medal. She also earned a bronze medal with the U.S. team in the 1992 Barcelona Games and made a surprising comeback in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Dawes is currently the only African-American gymnast with a gold medal and the only American gymnast with 3 Olympic Team medals from three different Olympic Games.
Dawes' start in gymnastics began at the age of 6. Her first and only coach, Kelli Hill quickly realized her potential, and Dawes began competing at the age of 10. She burst into the international spotlight at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where she was the first African-American female to qualify to an Olympic Games through the Olympic trials in Baltimore, MD. At these Games, she and her teammates captured a bronze medal.
Fans will recall that she was the gymnast that wowed the audience with her unique 'up-and-back' tumbling pass that consisted of 11 skills, spanning from one end of the floor to the other.
Throughout her career, Dawes has won more National Championship medals than any other athlete, male or female, since 1963, as well as numerous World Championship medals. One of Dawes' greatest feats came when she swept all four events and won the All Around title at the 1994 National Championships.
Dawes is much more than a champion gymnast, though. After retiring from the sport to which she dedicated 18 years of her life, Dawes has found a new passion empowering others. She is an accomplished motivational speaker, speaking to audiences of hundreds and thousands on topics focusing on passion, leadership, teamwork, health, fitness and wellness. Dawes' message empowers vast audiences, from corporate executives to small business owners, women's organizations to youth service organizations, and high school to college-age students; her passion and energy is captivating and leaves a lasting effect on those she inspires.
Since Dawes' first passion in life was gymnastics, she continues to educate those on the grassroots level. She hosts gymnastics clinics for aspiring athletes of all ages, with a focus on fundamentals, goal-setting, and mental toughness. She has served as a spokesperson for multiple local and national campaigns dealing with causes to build the self-esteem of today's youth and women. Dawes stays involved in high-level competitive gymnastics by working as an analyst in the media, traveling to China in 2008 to report on the Beijing Olympics for Yahoo! Sports . She is also a co-host on Yahoo! News Weekend Edition where she focuses on health, fitness and wellness.
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