Dominique Dawes made history during her time as a gymnast in the mid-'90s, becoming the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. That honor leads to understanding Dawes' thoughts on Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast with 30 medals, five of which come the 2016 Olympic Games. PopCulture.com recently caught up with former "Magnificent Seven" member, Dawes who had one word to describe Biles.
"I love that she's so ballsy," Dawes told PopCulture. "I love that she has a goat on her leotard. I was never that confident. I was never the greatest of all time, but I love that about her. But really, I will say what I love more about Simone Biles versus her athletic achievements is her being so vocal, her being so honest, her being so truthful about her experiences, and what she does not like about the sport of gymnastics and how it does need to change."
Dawes continued: "At the end of the day, if you are this great athlete and you're standing on the podium, and you've broken all these records, but you really didn't speak out and voice your opinion about something that has hurt and damaged thousands and thousands of young girls, then your job really was not complete and done."
The 44-year-old gymnast went on to praise Biles for "being vocal" over several issues, including the sexual abuse investigation surrounding Team USA. "She is speaking truthfully, and that is what I admire more about that young woman than anything more than her athletic achievements is her really trying to enforce change in a sport that [she] and I both love," Dawes said.
Due to the number of issues in gymnastics over the years, having people like Dawes and Biles speaking out is key for the sport to advance. For Dawes, she is doing that with her new docuseries Golden: The Journey of USA's Elite Gymnasts, which takes a look at what some of the top gymnasts in the world go through to make it to the Olympics.
"I am very committed to making sure my legacy today is on changing the culture of the sport of gymnastics to ensure that kids that are in the sport today don't go through those levels of hardships," Dawes said. "Also, sexual abuse has been rampant in the sport and the most recent news of an Olympic coach who was being charged with this. And so we need to change the sport. We need to shine the light on it, and I truly believe Golden allows us to do that, and I hope the change will happen following these series."