Dominique Dawes: Olympic Gold Gymnast's Emotionally Whole Coaching

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Dominique Dawes is a three-time former U.S. Olympic gymnast and was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team and part of the gold-medal-winning “Magnificent Seven” team at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Dawes recently opened her first gymnastics training academy in Clarksburg, Maryland to prove that there is a way to care for children and put the healthy minds and bodies of kids first in contrast to what she calls a culture of abuse that still exists in competitive gymnastics in this country. 

Dawes left her home at age 11 to move in with her coach, and doesn’t want other kids to lose their childhood and their identity in the name of perfection on the Olympic podium.

"If it doesn’t result in the Olympics or NCAA college scholarship, I don’t care. It’s all about caring for every single kid that walks through the doors. No matter their body types. No matter what their aspirations are. No matter what their parents envisions for them. Every kid matters."

-Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes

She says her training experiences took away her sense of worth and confidence in herself.

“The culture of gymnastics is a culture of fear, intimidation, and silence,” says Dawes.

The Dominique Dawes Gymnastic and Ninja Academy in Maryland is the result of Dominique’s determination to set an example for healthy coaching. 

Dominique Dawes promotes coaching that is child-first, and opened her first gym in Clarksburg, MD.

Known in the gymnastics community as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ Dominique Dawes was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team, the 1994 U.S. all-around senior National Champion, a three-time Olympian, a World Championship silver and bronze medalist, and a member of the gold-medal-winning “Magnificent Seven” team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Dawes is also notable as being the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics, and the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic-gold-medal in gymnastics. 

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Episode 18