The sport of gymnastics has been rocked by scandal for several years. Two decades of rampant sexual abuse culminated On November 5, 2018; that’s when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced that it would decertify USA Gymnastics as the national governing body for the sport, at the Olympic level. USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy one month later and many women are still healing from scars of abuse. Gymnastics needs a rebirth and Dominique Dawes is helping to create it. Dawes is one of the most decorated Olympic gold medalists of all time and this Spring she will open the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy.

The Dawes Gymnastics Academy will introduce youth to the sport of gymnastics in a supportive, healthy environment. While scandal and mistrust cloud today’s gymnastics scene, Dawes is working to change the narrative and expose young people to the sport that gave so much to her. As a 10-year member of the US national gymnastics team, Dawes was known as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ for her breathtaking artistry and strength. She was the first Black person, of any nationality or gender, to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. Having achieved so much, Dawes hopes to cement her legacy through the academy, one that will impact many more young people.

Dawes is a three-time Olympian who grew up in the Sliver Spring area of Montgomery County, MD, along on the northern border of Washington, DC. Dawes will open the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy in her native Montgomery County in the Spring of 2020. Dawes will open more locations across Montgomery County in the future but the present is worth celebrating: the academy’s class schedule has yet to be released and already, over 100 people have signed up. The early enthusiasm suggests that, despite the sport’s recent troubles, there is still an appetite for gymnastics and Dawes is committed to creating an environment to safely nurture it.

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