Not enough can be said about Dominique Dawes. She inspired not only thousands of girls to take up and pursue excellence in gymnastics—including the 2012 Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas—but oh so many non-gymnasts by her achievements, longevity and yes, the awesome way that she performed her routines.

She is the only U.S. gymnast to medal in three Olympics—just the fact that she made three Olympic teams is amazing. To remain so long at the top of the sport – this intensified her impact not just on African-Americans but also on all who admire the sport of gymnastics.

Dominique continues to inspire and has a long list of achievements outside of gymnastics. I was fortunate over the years to work alongside or closely with Dominique. We were both on Broadway at the same time and both worked in broadcasting and both served as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

In 2020, Dominique opened her own gymnastics academy in Clarksburg, Maryland, with a second location set to open this fall. No doubt her legacy and impact will continue to grow in the sport of gymnastics!

Superstar is an understatement, incredible is close, but “awesome” will always be associated with Dominique Dawes.

– Wendy

Read a full profile on Dominique by NPR here.

Click to watch a video of Dominique’s 1996 Olympic medal-winning floor routine.