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During her teenage years, in the mid 1990s, Dominique Dawes captured the Olympic spotlight, becoming the first female African-American gymnast to win an individual medal in her sport at the Games.

After devoting 18 years to gymnastics, she retired, and then worked on Broadway and for TV news.

In 2010, President Obama appointed her as co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition where she now focuses on combating something that First Lady Michelle Obama is passionate about: childhood obesity and educating women on cardiovascular disease. She recently partnered with Sweet’N Low to raise awareness on diabetes, which affects more than 25 million Americans, including some of her family members.

In an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin, Dawes says she’s just an everyday person: “When I retired from the sport at 23 years old, I was no longer training the five to seven hours a day in the gym for six days a week; and like everyone, I put on the 15 or 20 pounds during my freshman year in college.”

She says she no longer strives for an “Olympic physique,” and now, at age 38, she loves her body and understands the importance of regular exercise to maintain physical and emotional health.

In her current role, her mission is to engage, educate, and empower all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.

Dominique Dawes: A Champion For Our Communities  was originally published on

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