Monday, August 15, 2016

First African American Gymnast to Win Olympic Medal, Dominique Dawes

Dominique Dawes and her gymnastics team won gold in the 1996 Olympics. 


Dominique Dawes



Dominique Dawes, first African American gymnast to win Olympic gold medal
Dominique Dawes
First African American to Win Olympic Medals
Individual Bronze, Olympic Team Gold
1996 Olympic Games, Atlanta

With all that gold being earned by African American women at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, we should remember the first African American women to win Olympic medals, lest we forget that Dominique Dawes helped lay the groundwork for black female gymnastics gold medalists in the 2016 Summer Olympic in Rio. 


Dominique Dawes won an individual bronze medal, becoming the first African American to win an individual Olympic medal in women's gymnastics in 1996 and won Olympic team gold. Dawes remained the only black American female to win an Olympic medals until the 2012 London Olympics, in which Gabby Douglas, became the first African American gymnast to win the individual all-around Olympic gold medal. 

Dominique Dawes

Dominique Dawes sported the nickname, Awesome Dawesome, while she was a 10-year member of the medal-winning U.S. national gymnastics team.


  • Barcelona 1992 (bronze)
  • Atlanta 1996 (gold)
  • Sydney 2000 (bronze)


In 2000 for the Olympic Games in Sydney, Dawes earned a spot on the U.S. women's gymnastics team a third time. They placed fourth. When a Chinese gymnast was found to be underage, however, China lost their medal. Dawes was the first U.S. gymnast in history to be a member of three medal-winning gymnastics team. Dawes retired from gymnastics for good after the 2000 Games. 




Dominique Dawes 1996 Olympics Event Finals Floor


Dominique Dawes Grows Up!


Dominique Dawes, Olympic Gold Spokesperson
Dominique Dawes, Spokesperson
Dominique Dawes, born in 1976 in Silver Spring, Maryland, was the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, winning an individual Olympic gold medal in artistic gymnastics. The youngest President in the history of the Women's Sports Federation, Dawes served from 2004–2006. In 2002, she was the first spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of America's Uniquely Me self-esteem program, supports events for autism awareness, such as the 2001 Power of One rally in Washington D.C., and serves on the Advisory Board of Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life program.



Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's

Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop  At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop
At Woolworth's

by Sunny Nash

Hard Cover
Bigmama Didn't Shop 
at Woolworth's

Amazon Kindle
Bigmama Didn't Shop 
at Woolworth's
Many little girls dream of being star gymnasts. I did when I was growing up. However, there were no gymnastics teams or equipment or uniforms or competition back in the 1950s. But we did have Mr. Pruitt, who sent away to Europe for a little book of stick figures doing impossible moves. He gathered about ten girls he thought he might be able to train. We stared at the position of the sticks in his book and cringed. 

Then, we tried and were surprised at what we could do with his coaching. You can read about my adventures with gymnastics in my book. Although, my experiences did not lead me to the levels of Dominique Dawes, Mr. Pruitt did teach me discipline, confidence and how to walk like a lady. Imagine ten little girls prancing around the school yard behind this six-foot-something all-man former track star--quite a sight. His wife, also a teacher, who came from her school to pick him up some afternoons got quite a kick out of seeing us follow her husband around the school yard like Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov's puppies. 

Sunny Nash
Sunny Nash
Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press), about life in the with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement. Nash’s book is recognized by the Association of American University Presses as essential for understanding U.S. race relations; listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York; and recommended by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida for Native American collections.

Nash is also a producer, photographer, blogger and a leading writer on race relations in America--writes books, blogs, articles and reviews, and produces media and images on U.S. history and contemporary American topics, ranging from Jim Crow laws to social media networking, using her book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's, chosen by the Association of American University Presses for its value to understanding of U.S. race relations, to relate experiences about life with her part-Comanche grandmother.

Sunny Nash produces blogs, media, books, articles and images on history and contemporary topics, from slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow and civil rights to post racism, social media, entertainment and technology using her book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, as a basis for commentary and research.

"My book, 'Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's,' began in the 1990s. I was writing for Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapers. The stories are about my childhood with my part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, my parents, relatives, friends, and others; and my interpretation of the events surrounding the Jim Crow South before and during the Civil Rights Movement.

Robin Fruble of Southern California said, "Every white person in America should read this book! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world. But if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher," Fruble said.




© 2014 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
~Thank You~


Sunny Nash – Race Relations in America

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