Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes is opening her personal gymnastics faculty in Clarksburg, Maryland. These gymnasts, nonetheless, may have an introduction to the game far completely different than the academy’s namesake.
Dawes mentioned she focuses on encouragement moderately than harsh criticism.
“It’s not as if we’re instructing one thing in a different way almost about the standard of gymnastics,” Dawes mentioned. “It’s why we do it and the way we do it, and our why is (that) we care about each single child that walks by means of our doorways — and it exhibits.”
Dawes needs her academy to characterize a cultural shift within the sport: a transfer away from teaching that breaks athletes down in an effort to construct them again as much as one which creates a wholesome stability of labor and play.
The gymnastics middle additionally features a Ninja Academy, with impediment programs much like these seen on the TV present “American Ninja Warrior.”
“If it means I gained’t have Olympians produced on this gymnasium, so be it,” Dawes mentioned. “I’m extra involved about your youngsters being comfortable, wholesome (and) well-rounded.”
Dawes was on the prime of her sport within the Nineteen Nineties. She was a crew member of USA Gymnastics, however a part of the street was paved with ache.
“You by no means felt as if somebody was listening, that somebody was there for you,” she mentioned.
Although she was not one in every of Dr. Larry Nassar’s victims, Dawes mentioned that tradition made it potential for him to sexually abuse tons of of younger ladies over twenty years.
“It’s an atmosphere filled with concern, intimidation and silence, and he took benefit of it,” Dawes mentioned. “My atmosphere right here, there isn’t a concern, there isn’t a intimidation and your voice issues to us.”
Now along with her personal youngsters in gymnastics, Dawes is inspired to see Olympic gymnast Simone Biles communicate up for gymnasts and is trying ahead to the longer term era of gymnasts to return.
“They stroll in smiling; they miss smiling,” Dawes mentioned. “That’s my aim: for there to be pleasure, laughter, smiles, and for them to acknowledge that we care about each child.”