Before this week's gold-winning performance by the U.S. women's team, only one African-American female had ever earned an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics -- Dominique Dawes.

It's a fact that Dawes tearfully recalled after watching 16-year-old Gabby Douglas succeed her in the individual all-around competition Thursday, edging out the other gymnasts with a score of 62.232, and becoming the fourth American woman to ever win gold in the event.

"Us gymnasts are usually so composed," Dawes said, choking back tears in an interview with FOX Sports. "I am so thrilled for Gabby ... I'm so thrilled to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal."

Dawes nabbed the most coveted medal as a part of the famous 1996 team, along with bronze for her performance in the individual floor competition the same year.

Her emotion over Douglas's win overflowed on Twitter where she later announced the website change.


Dominique Dawes
My web guy's words "changed the banner on your website from "only African American gymnast…" to read "the first African American gymnast…"

Dawes went on to describe the anxiety she felt prior to Thursday's meet, comparing her experience as a spectator to being on the floor back in 1996.


Dominique Dawes
I thought it was emotional making history in 96 but I'm realizing it's just as emotional watching make history in her right!

When asked what touched her heart the most, Dawes responded that it was the generation of young kids looking up to Douglas in the same way they did with her. "That's what's so touching," she said "As I was able to help Gabby, now she's going to help a whole other generation of young girls and boys, African Americans, Hispanics, other minorities to see the sport of gymnastics as an opportunity for them to excel."

Thursday's win was a first for Douglas as well. At 16-years-old she's become the first African-American to win an Olympic all-around title.

Earlier on HuffPost:

15 Memorable African-American Olympic Moments
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  • Gail Devers Overcomes Illness (1992)

    After overcoming Graves' disease in 1990 Devers won gold with a photo finish in the 100 meter dash at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

  • John Taylor Wins First Gold Medal (1908)

    John Taylor dominated the 4x400 at the 1908 Games and became the first African American to ever win gold.

  • Carl Lewis Wins 9th Gold (1996)

    Carl Lewis took the gold in the long jump at the 1996 Olympics becoming the second track and field athelete to ever win four gold medals in one event. This medal also made him the second athlete to win nine gold medals.

  • Dan O'Brien Comes Back From Defeat (1996)

    After failing to qualify for the Games in 1992 during pole vault trials, O'Brien took home the decathlon gold four years later at the Atlanta Games.

  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee Wins Sixth Medal After Injury (1996)

    Jackie Joyner-Kersee won her sixth and final medal at the 1996 games. After pulling out of the heptathlon due to injury her long jump earned her a bronze medal and made her the most awarded female athlete at the time.

  • Muhammad Ali Lights The Torch (1996)

    Legendary Muhammad Ali's boxing career took off at the 1960 Games which made him the perfect choice to help us celebrate the 1996 Games by lighting the Olympic flame in Atlanta. Ali's regal presence despite his battle with Parkinson's disease shows he will always be a prized fighter.

  • Michael Johnson Wins Both The 200 And 400 Meters (1996)

    Michael Johnson made history when he became the first athlete to win both the 200 and 400. Johnson also set an Olympic record in the 400 and dominated the World Record in the 200.

  • Tommie Smith And John Carlos Show Off Their Black Pride (1968)

    During the 1968 Games Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race and fellow U.S. runner John Carlos took third place. On the winner's podium the two held up a fist to represent their black pride. This image became one of the most well known political statements in Olympic history.

  • USA Basketball Dream Team (1992)

    The 1992 Dream Team dominated at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. The team beat its eight opponents by an average of 44 points earning them a gold medal and an everlasting place in Olympic history.

  • Jesse Owens Wins In Nazi Germany (1936)

    During the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games Hitler intended to showcase his Aryan ideals and power. However, Jesse Owens won four gold medals and became an American hero.

  • U.S. Boxing Team Wins Big (1976)

    Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, Leo Randolph and Howard Davis Jr. each won a gold medal during the 1976 Games. The team brought home seven medals overall and is known as one of the best U.S. Olympic boxing teams in history.

  • Bob Hayes Sets A New Record (1964)

    "Bullet Bob" won gold in the 100 meters and became the first to run the 100 in under 10 seconds. He also anchored the 4x100 relay at the 1964 Olympics. With Bob's super speed the U.S. came from behind and won gold.

  • USA Women's Basketball Team Wins Fourth Gold (2008)

    The USA won their fourth gold medal in four Olympic Games after beating Australia. Powerhouse Lisa Leslie was a presence on the team during all four years and helped bring the team to victory year after year.

  • 1984 US Boxing Team

    Anchored by future legends Meldrick Taylor and Pernell Whitaker, the 1984 US Boxing team medaled in nearly every event - taking home nine golds.

  • Alice Coachman's Epic High Jump Win (1948)

    During the 1948 Olympics Alice Coachman leaped to fame and became the first black woman to win a gold medal.