Dominique Dawes Profile

Championship athlete, Dominique Dawes is best known for her role in “The Magnificent Seven,” the 1996 Olympic gold medal-winning American women’s gymnastic team, which to this day is still remembered as the best women’s team in U.S. gymnastics history. Dawes was also the first African American female to ever qualify for the Olympics via trials.

Dawes began her career at age six when she signed up for a tumbling class; however when she arrived to find out that the class had been cancelled, someone at the center referred her parents to a local gymnastics club, Hill’s Angels. Dawes signed up for classes with Kelli Hill, the club’s coach and owner, who became her mentor in gymnastics (and life) for the entirety of her 18-year-long career.

Under Hill’s guidance and training, Dawes won more National Championship medals than any other athlete, male or female, since 1963, as well as numerous World Championship medals. She became the first African American gymnast to win an individual medal and the only female American gymnast who has been a part of three Olympic medal-winning gymnastic teams. (1992, 1996, and 2000.)

Aside from being a natural athlete, Dawes is also a natural speaker, having inspired thousands of audiences with her personal story of struggles, setbacks, and successes. Her character is as strong as her presence on the gymnastics floor and today she is using it to lead and motivate youth to make healthy choices and follow their dreams. Aside from hosting one-day gymnastics clinics across the country, she advocates several causes including boosting self-esteem in girls and raising autism awareness.

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    From Olympic Gold Medalist to Broadway to television analyst to President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Dominique Dawes continues on a path to inspire, motivate and lead.


      • Dominique Dawes is 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’ 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 compete and qualify to an Olympic Games through the Olympic trials. 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.

    “I could never hear my floor music after that tumbling pass,” Dawes recalled. “The crowd would be cheering so loud; I would just have to dance to their cheers. It was an amazing feeling.”

    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.

    “Winning my first national title was exciting,” Dawes said. “I was struggling for over a month each and every day of practice leading up to the Nationals. I couldn’t stay on the balance beam to save my life. My consistency and confidence were failing. I am not sure if it was the pressure of the sport getting to me, but whatever it was, it made it difficult to stay focused on my goals. One day after practice, Mrs. Norman, a parent of a teammate, took me aside and said the kindset words to me. She didn’t add pressure or give me advice; she showed me compassion. To this day, her words still resonate in my head and inspire me to stay focused whenever times get tough. I learned then that saying the right words, at the right time, can lift someone’s spirit. I aspire to offer those same kind words to those that I come in contact with.”

    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 about which she is passionate. Dawes stays involved in high-level competitive gymnastics by working as an analyst in the media, most recently traveling to China to report on the Beijing Olympics for Yahoo! Sports.

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Dominique Dawes's Speech Descriptions

Humorous and genuine, Dominique Dawes has a talent for connecting with each and every one of her audience members. She shares the values and mindset that helped her overcome challenges and persevere despite the many times she was tempted to quit her athletic career. Furthermore Dawes emphasizes that being a champion is not about standing on a podium; it’s about personal growth and building character.

Dawes applies her story to a vast range of audiences including corporate executives, women’s groups, small business owners, and youth.

Success is a Journey, NOT a Destination
Dominique Dawes won Olympic gold. But, for her, success is so much more than medals and accolades: it’s something she worked hard to achieve everyday en route to Olympic glory. Her journey in the sport of gymnastics lasted 18 years and in those years she stood strong on numerous podiums. Leaving lasting impressions in the hearts of fans. The podium was the destination, the long term goal, however, it’s the moments in between she calls the “journey” that helped her realize the success that she was always striving for. Overcoming the inevitable obstacles, challenges, and doubts are the moments in the journey that build the champion in Dawes. Surrounding herself with the right team, developing the mindset to persevere and turning negative situations into life lessons is how Dawes realized Success is a Journey, NOT a Destination.

ENVISION Reaching Your Full Potential
ENVISION is Dawes′ signature message. It is also the title of her motivational line of products. ENVISION is an acronym for the 8 principles that helped Dawes become successful in and out of the athletic arena. She crafts this speech specifically to motivate and empower the audience to envision greatness in their own lives. The core focuses are passion, plan and perseverance.

Building a Strong Foundation for Success
Building a solid foundation was one of the keys to Dawes′ success. Her emphasis on a solid foundation touches on multiples areas: from healthy lifestyle choices to developing positive self-esteem where she addresses issues such as peer pressures, productive attitudes and values. The audience will walk away empowered, motivated, and, more importantly, clear on what it takes to build a strong foundation worthy of your dreams.

Got D-3? Determination, Dedication, Desire

D-3 became Dawes′ personal motto when she was an Olympic athlete in the making. Fatigue, frustration and loss of focus was common is such a perfectionist sport. D-3 kept Dawes focused on what was going to allow her to stay on the path to success. She paints a vivid picture of moments in the gymnastics arena where D-3 inspired her to persevere through setbacks and struggles, sacrifices and insecurities, en route to Olympic Gold. D-3 has become a staple in Dawes′ athletic and professional accomplishments. She inspires audiences to develop their own personal motto that will help define and direct them in life too!

What People are Saying about Seeing Dominique Speak

Rating Entries

    “Dominique Dawes came to our facility in January 2008 for an amazing gymnastics clinic. Dominique motivated the girls and made each of them feel special and unique. She encouraged everyone that hard work will pay off no matter what you are trying to accomplish. This inspired not only to the gymnasts participating but the parents and coaches viewing the clinic. The local newspaper articles and TV piece broadcasted by Fox News was great advertisement for our competitive team and recreational gymnastics program. It was an experience that the Aerials Gymnastics team will never forget!”
    Carly Meyer
    Aerials Head Coach & Program Supervisor

    Partial Client List:

    Women’s Sports Foundation events/GoGirlGo! Kick offs
    Boys and Girls Clubs of America National convention and numerous clubs
    University of Connecticut
    Girl Scouts Councils
    Girl Scout/Dove Uniquely Me! Events
    Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty functions
    Walmart marketing/sales meetings (400 plus employees)
    ASAE (women’s group)
    NASA Stennis Space Center
    Host of Ruben Studdard’s dinner (Advancement for children in the arts/music)
    Derek Jeter’s Turn2 Foundation event (NY)
    Dept. of Health and Human Services (HUD—internship program)
    Multiple Take Your Daughter to Work Day events at corporations
    Mass Mutual
    United Way
    Penn. State University
    Geico (Black History event)
    National Urban League
    Kappa Delta
    America Heart Association
    Breakfast Clubs of America (Philadelphia)
    Autism Speaks
    Autism Society of America
    Spelman College

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