Former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes captured worldwide attention as a member of the ’96 Atlanta Games’ ’Magnificent Seven.’ The group of gymnasts captured a gold medal in the team event, which the U.S. women’s team hasn’t done since. Dawes recently spoke with Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist C.J. about her Olympic past and her dislike for Gabby Douglas’ nickname on the current women’s gymnastics team:
Q Is this being a black person in an elite sport that’s mostly white an over-asked question?
A I don’t think it’s ever overdone. The sport of gymnastics is still primarily a white sport though if you look at these young girls preparing for the London Olympic Games, we have a young African-American gymnast in Gabby Douglas, who’s leading the way. She won the Olympic trials. She’s someone that when you watch her do gymnastics you have to jump out of your seat. You have to applaud. I’m doing work now for FoxSports.com. I was at the Olympic trials, I’m in the media section and, you know, you’re not supposed to show a bias or favoritism at all and I was jumping out of my seat watching this young, little girl. She’s been a nice leader on the floor but during my ’96 Olympics team there was myself and a Romanian-American,Dominique Moceanu, and Asian-American in Amy Chow. We’ve had diversity in the sport. It just needs to be recognized more.
Q Do you call Gabby “The Flying Squirrel”?
A I do not, and I do not like that nickname. I will be honest with you, I do not like that nickname. I’m going to call her “Doin’ It Douglas,” “Wowing It Douglas.” I am trying my hardest to come up with a nickname that’s going to stick. She does fly on the uneven bars, she wows the crowd, you jump out of your seat. Maybe you can be creative and come up a good nickname. I don’t know if she does [or doesn't like the nickname] but I’ll tell you what I feel about it. It’s a nickname but I think there are others that better describe her talent. Why don’t we collaborate? We’ll tweet about it.
Click here to read the full interview.