The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms: working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Dominique Dawes! Each month we will feature one special mom as the mom of the month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!
Meet our May Mom of the Month: Dominique Dawes
Dominique Dawes is a mom, professional athlete, motivational speaker, and business owner! Known in the gymnastics community as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ Dawes was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team. She is also 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.
More impressive statistics
Dawes is the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics, as well as the first Black person of any nationality to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She is also one of only three female American gymnasts to compete in three Olympics and was part of their medal-winning teams: Barcelona 1992 (bronze), Atlanta 1996 (gold), and Sydney 2000 (bronze).
Additionally, Dawes is the Olympic bronze medalist on floor exercise from the Atlanta games. She also holds minority ownership of the Washington Spirit (DC’s professional women’s soccer team) and was the co-chair of the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition under the Obama administration.
Actor and speaker
Dawes starred in the broadway hit musical, “Grease” and has been a motivational speaker for over 25 years. A wife and mother of four, Dawes holds her degree from The University of Maryland. In 2020, she gave the commencement speech for her alma mater. Dawes continues to span the generations as her reputation and relevance still resonates within the world of sports, politics, and even entertainment and hip hop culture.
Today, Dominque serves as founder of Dominque Dawes Gymnastics Academy, which is a safe, supportive and empowering gymnastics and ninja gym for all! The mission of the Academy is to plant seeds of empowerment, all while teaching quality gymnastics, fostering friendships, and building memories that will last a lifetime.
Here is our Q&A with Dominique Dawes:
1. What core values do you want to instill in your children and how do you plan to do that?
Faith. Family. Friendships. I want to instill the importance of leaning on our faith, family and healthy friendships in this world. We all go through challenges and I want my kids to know that they are never alone.
2. What are your thoughts on the pressure put on children and adults in our culture?
We need to define what success is for the individual. One’s net worth, fame, influence, and accolades will never guarantee happiness and contentment. Will going to a prestigious school or being the best at everything truly make our children happy? Our kids only have one childhood, so let’s make it a happy and healthy one. As parents, we have to look at our children and ask ourselves: Is this too much? There’s no gain in sacrificing your child’s happiness for something that is fleeting.
3. What motivated you to start a gym that focuses on children’s development/sports?
The seed was planted to open my own gym when the horrific abuse was revealed in 2016 about my Olympic Team doctor, Larry Nassar. I started to open up to my husband about the verbal, emotional and physical abuse I endured at the gym I trained at in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We both decided that we need to be part of the healthy change in the sport and not sit back and allow the abuses to continue.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about sports. Each and every child that is part of our community will know that their worth does not come from athletic achievements, but that a focus on developing the whole person —physical health, emotional stability, mental strength and a healthy social life is key to happiness and success in this world.
4) What tips and tricks do you use to balance and manage family, business, mental health, fitness, etc.?
I wish I had the answer to this question. I always feel as if there’s not enough hours in a day. I lean on my faith often. I look at my children’s faces. I get out of my own head. I choose to put one foot in front of the other each and every day…and I remind myself that what I choose to neglect today, I will lose tomorrow.
So, when my husband says let’s have a date night, or my daughter tells me I’m working too much or I look at myself in the mirror and I’m wiped out, I stop. I listen. I make the right decision most of the time. I’m human and I make mistakes. I remind myself often… I can save my work for another day, I can trust my team and delegate, because my faith and family will always come first—they are what bring me true joy and lasting peace.