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Cindy Miller
School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes to address annual dinner honoring women's achievements in sports

EDITORS: Additional photo and interview opportunities are available. Please confirm plans to attend with Cindy Miller, 812-855-1354 and Sage Steele will speak to IU Sports Marketing classes in room 101 of Woodburn Hall, 1100 E. Seventh St., on Feb. 11, from 1-2:30 p.m. Dominique Dawes will be at Rising Star Gymnastics School, 5006 S. Rogers St., on Feb. 12, from 4:30- 5:30 p.m. to talk to young gymnasts and families.

Jan. 27, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Dominique Dawes, U.S. Olympic gold medalist in gymmastics, will deliver the keynote address at Indiana University Bloomington's annual National Girls and Women in Sport Day Dinner, where ESPN sportscaster and IU alumna Sage Steele will be honored along with Emily Ward, a director at IU's Campus Recreational Sports.

Dominique Dawes

Dominique Dawes

Print-Quality Photo

The Feb. 12 dinner in Bloomington is sponsored by the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) and the IU Alumni Association (IUAA). It begins at 6 p.m. in the Henke Hall of Champions, located in the North End Zone facility of IU Memorial Stadium.

Tickets are available for $25 each ($15 for IUAA members); table sponsorships are available for $250 (includes eight seats). To purchase tickets or register for the event, visit

Dominique Dawes

Dawes is best known for her success as an Olympic gymnast who competed in three Olympic Games, where she won four medals and gained a permanent place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame. Fans across the nation and around the world remember her as a member of the gold-medal-winning "Magnificent Seven" at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she also won a bronze medal with her floor-exercise performance, becoming the first female African-American gymnast to win an individual medal. She also earned a bronze medal with the U.S. team in the 1992 Barcelona Games and made a surprising comeback in the 2000 Sydney Games, earning a team bronze medal.

At her Olympic debut in 1992 in Barcelona, she was the first African-American female to compete in and qualify for an Olympic Games through the Olympic trials. At these Games, she and her teammates captured a bronze medal. Throughout her career, Dawes has won more National Championship medals than any other athlete -- male or female -- since 1963, as well as numerous World Championship medals.

Since retiring from gymnastics, Dawes has become an accomplished motivational speaker, speaking to audiences about topics focusing on passion, leadership, teamwork, health, fitness and wellness. Dawes' message empowers vast audiences with her passion and energy, and leaves a lasting effect on those she inspires. In 2010, Dawes was named co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. As co-chair, her mission is to engage, educate and empower all Americans to fulfill their own dreams.

2011 Anita Aldrich Distinguished Alumni Award

Sage Steele, a 1995 graduate from the School of HPER, will receive the the school's 2011 Anita Aldrich Distinguished Alumni Award. Steele received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Communication. Steele joined ESPN in 2007 and is a co-host of ESPN's flagship show, SportsCenter. Most recently, Steele served as update host during live daytime SportsCenter editions, which debuted in August 2008. She also contributes to First Take and previously anchored SportsCenter updates on Mike & Mike in the Morning and has served as a guest co-host of ESPN2's SportsNation.

Steele began her television career at WSBT-TV (CBS) in South Bend, Ind., as a producer and reporter, then worked at CBS affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis from 1997-1998 as the weekend morning sports anchor and weekday reporter. Her reporting duties included the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 auto races, and local college and high school sports.

Her career continued as she worked in Tampa, Fla., as a sports reporter with former WFTS sports director and current ESPN First Take host Jay Crawford, and at Fox Sports Florida where she covered teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Lightning and University of South Florida Bulls. She then worked at Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic in Bethesda, Md., where she was an anchor and reporter for the network's nightly local sports news program, SportsNite. Steele was one of Comcast SportsNet's original personalities, joining that network when it launched in 2001. During her six years at CSN Mid-Atlantic (2001-2007), she was a main anchor and also the beat reporter for the Baltimore Ravens.

Office for Women's Affairs Award for Excellence in Support of Women in Sports

Emily Ward, director of Aquatics, Informal Sports, Equipment Operations, Student Personnel and Facility Scheduling for the School of HPER's Campus Recreational Sports, will receive the Office for Women's Affairs Award for Excellence in Support of Women in Sports.

Ward stood out to the award selection committee and the staff at OWA because of her many contributions to athletics and wellness at IU and beyond. OWA cited her involvement with the Jill Behrman 5K Run/Walk, IU Bloomington's Coalition for Overcoming Problem Eating/Exercise (C.O.P.E.) and Women with Will, a supportive, sports- and physical activity-oriented network of women from IU and the greater Bloomington community. Her work speaks of a woman deeply committed to encouraging health and wellness for all women from all walks of life.

The NGWSD was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women. NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports.

Past keynote speakers include:

  • 2010 - Mildred Ball, former assistant commissioner for the Indiana High School Athletic Association
  • 2009 - Birch Bayh, former United States senator
  • 2008 - Peggy Martin, volleyball coach at University of Central Missouri
  • 2007 - Buffy Filippell, 2006 Anita Aldrich Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

For more information, contact Cindy Miller at 812-855-1354 and Individuals and businesses interested in attending the banquet can fill out an online registration form at For table sponsor information, please contact Diane Buzzell with the HPER Office of Advancement at 812-856-4620 or