Former Olympian Dominique Dawes called it — the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won gold today, and she knew they would.
“Gold all around for the U.S. team,” she said Tuesday morning, speaking to Metro at an event for Citi’s Every Step of the Way program, for which she campaigns to raise funds towards resources for athletes.
Indeed, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team did take gold today with a strong five point lead over the Russian team, which met defeat in tears. It’s no surprise that Dawes predicted correctly. She knows how to spot a winning team, as she herself is one of the most accomplished gymnasts in U.S. history.
Dawes was the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. At the 1996 gymnastics, she was part of the dominating team known as the “Magnificent 7,” the first American team to take the Olympic title.
Now, Dawes dedicates part of her life to giving back to the Olympics, by encouraging people to donate through Every Step of the Way to help create things athletes need, like hot and cold plunge pools — many people don’t realize the Olympics are not government-funded and rely on contributions. Today though, she played the part of Olympic-predictor.
“I’ll cry today when these girls win,” she said of the U.S. team. “It will be the first team to do so after my team did it 16 years ago.”
“I’m sick of people talking about the ‘Mag 7.’ I know I’m screwing myself professionally when I say that,” Dawes said with a laugh. “I’m just thrilled for this next generation to surpass what me and my teammates did.”
Dawes said she’s keeping a close eye on Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, who she noticed had improved during the prelims. She noted that Jordyn Weiber is going through a “difficult time” after failing to qualify for the all-around finals this Thursday.
“She feels like she’s been knocked down, but when she stands up, hopefully she’ll stand up stronger,” Dawes said.
When asked which other sports Dawes would be taking in during her time in London, she jokingly replied, “just gymnastics” before saying she’ll be watching U.S. swimming rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
“I just love seeing athletes excel,” she said.