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"Gymnastics is a sport dominated by Caucasians, but that statistic did not affect my hope and dream of someday becoming an Olympic gold medalist. You control your own destiny."

— Dominique Dawes
Dominique Dawes
First African American Olympic Gymnast and Gold Medalist

Dominique Dawes wins consistently, on and off the gym floor. Flawless execution earned her 15 national gymnastics championships in nine years and a spot on the 1988 U.S. national gymnastics team—the first African American ever on the squad.

Dawes carried her winning ways onto the international circuit. A three-time Olympian, Dawes was a member of the bronze medal-winning team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, "Awesome Dawesome" and her fellow "Magnificent Seven" gymnasts swept the competition, bringing home the first gold medal for a U.S. gymnastics team. Dawes won an individual bronze medal in the floor exercises—the first African American to earn an individual Olympic medal in women's gymnastics.

After her participation in the 2000 Olympics, Dawes branched out, exploring multiple professional and philanthropic roles. She became a gymnastics TV commentator and an advocate for young women in sports.

Name: Dominique Margaux Dawes
Born: Silver Spring, Maryland, 1976–
  • First African American on U.S. National gymnastics team, 1988, and on U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, 1992
  • First African American to win individual Olympic medal in gymnastics, 1996
  • Gold Medalist, team competition; Bronze Medalist, floor exercises, Atlanta Olympics, 1996
  • Silver Medalist, team competition, World Championship, 1994
  • Bronze Medalist, team competition, Barcelona Olympics, 1992
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National Museum of American History   Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service