Dominique Dawes Inspires a New Generation of Women

Olympian Dominique Dawes talks candidly about her struggles throughout her career with the hopes of inspiring a new generation of young women in her book Heart of a Champion. The co-chair of President Obama’s Councils on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, said that she doesn’t need to wear a leotard to influence others to greatness.

You would have never known a low self-esteem was burgeoning for this Olympic gold-winning gymnast. Dominique Dawes was a champ, an icon, the first African American women to win an individual medal in gymnastics. After the lights were dimmed, Dawes wrestled with her value, but found hope. This was a prize that had more substance than any cover of a magazine and a plethora of medals--Jesus Christ was still her foundation. Dawes talks candidly about her struggles throughout her career with the hopes of inspiring a new generation of young women in her book Heart of a Champion. The co-chair of President Obama’s Councils on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, said that she doesn’t need to wear a leotard to influence others to greatness.

This is another chapter for Dawes. Lucky for us, her momentum is going to be a game changer for women years to come.

These are exciting times for you. You’re working with the White House and [currently] doing broadcasting.

And I’m not wearing a leotard (laughing)! I never thought that my gymnastics career would have morphed into what it has into. It’s been a dream come true to be able to impact people as you mentioned doing work with the White House and now working with FoxSports.com. It’s exciting to see that I took my love for the sport of gymnastics and transitioned it into something that is just as positive.

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You’re pretty open in your book about struggling with self-worth.

I told the First Lady (Michelle Obama) before when she asked me how I overcame certain things. You know I told her faith did it. The thing is telling yourself that you’re dealing with self-esteem issues and certain fears. You kind of talk yourself out of that negative feeling. I think that’s a healthy way of dealing with issues.

Tell us how you battled low self-esteem?

As I young person I focused on the positive and what I wanted to become and what I wanted to achieve by not dwelling on the what-ifs. Being a three-time Olympic athlete and a gymnast at that, I was very much a people pleaser when I was little. I never felt good about myself unless I was pleasing other people. …You can’t please everyone. And being now 35, the person I focus on pleasing is Jesus Christ.

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Related Topics: Olympics, Interviews, Athletes

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