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(WUSA) -- Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes celebrates a birthday today! She turns 36.

DominiqueDawes.com shows when she was 6 years old, Dawes began gymnastics. At the age of 10, she started competing. By 1992, she made it to the Olympics. At Barcelona, she was one of the first African-American female gymnasts to compete and would become the first African-American gymnast with an Olympic gold.

According to her website, "Dawes has won more National Championship medals than any other athlete, male or female, since 1963, as well as numerous World Championship medals. One of Dawes' greatest feats came when she swept all four events and won the All Around title at the 1994 National Championships."

Many young women consider Dawes a hero, including double gold medalist Gabby Douglas, who became the first black woman to win an individual Olympic gymnastics medal.