More from Dominique Dawes
You, along with the Magnificent 7, have inspired hundreds of thousands of girls to get into gymnastics. Who did you look up to when you were watching the Olympics as a little girl?
You know, I really didn't watch the Olympics when I was little, believe it or not. There wasn't a performance or athlete that I saw at the Olympic Games that I model myself after; the only athlete that I had an interest in back in the day was Daniela Silivas from Romania. Her personality, her smile; she's an amazing tumbler and she looked like she was enjoying herself out there. She never won World Games or the Olympics, but she was exciting to watch. As a younger person I never wanted to idolize or be another athlete because there were no African-American gymnasts out there that I could see on TV, that I could be like.
You've been in three Olympics. What was your favorite moment?
Of course the Olympic Games were pretty memorable, and I do remember the sounds of the cameras clicking at the Olympics in the Georgia Dome in '96, but there are moments you can't prepare for. In 1992 I met the Dream Team with my teammates -- watching Larry Bird waving to us to come on the bus and meeting Magic [Johnson] and Michael [Jordan] and all these athletes. I saw Michael Jordan a few years ago in D.C. and he actually told me about when we first met and I was pretty amazed, because this man has obviously met millions of people and he recalled the 1992 Olympic Games when we little gymnasts came on their bus. So there are those moments where you connect with Olympians at the Olympic Games, and that's something you hold near and dear to your heart.
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