WASHINGTON — Olympic gold medalist and the only African-American woman to win a medal in a single gymnastic event, Dominique Dawes will be at Howard University Hospital, Nov. 29, to talk with Washington area residents about diabetes, a disease that affects more than 25 million Americans.

Dawes, the only modern American gymnast to win medals in three Olympic games – 1992, 1996 and 200o – will talk diabetes, health, fitness and nutrition during the 9 a.m. to noon session in Freedmen’s Hall and in the lobby of the hospital.

The session will include free screenings for diabetes and hypertension. The public is invited to meet and talk with Dawes and be tested for the disease.

Dawes, who won 17 gold medals and three silver medals in the U.S. Senior National competition from 1991 to 1996, said while the disease has not affected her personally, it has shadowed her family.

“With a history of diabetes in my family, I am aware of the severe effects of the disease and am very pleased to assist in educating Americans about the importance of early detection and appropriate treatment,” said the Silver Spring, Md. resident, who is celebrating a birthday this month.

Since retiring from gymnastics, Dawes served from 2004 to 2006 as president of the Women’s Sports Federation. She was the first spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of American’s “Uniquely Me” self-esteem campaign in 2002,

She is presently on the Advisory Board of Sesame Workshop’s “Healthy Habits for Life” program and also works as a motivational speaker, concentrating on youth issues.
In June 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Dawes to be co-chair of the newly renamed President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.