Olivia Lucas (front center) and her family had the chance to meet Baron Davis prior to the Warriors-Wizards game in Washington, D.C. (View Photo Gallery)
The following is Olivia's winning essay:
Dominique Dawes is the African American Athlete who has impacted my life because she inspired me to always give my personal best!
I have been doing gymnastics since I was 4 years old. I finally reached Level 4 in 3rd grade which is the first stage of competition. Gymnastics was fun in the beginning but then it began to feel like work. I had to be at the gym 2 days every week from 4-6 PM.
The last 2 weeks of 3rd grade I missed school and gymnastics practice because I was sick. It felt good not having to go practice and I decided I didn’t want to be a gymnast anymore. My mom finally got me to agree to try a new gym and I went to a couple of practices. I decided to train for Level 5 competition during the summer. I was also transferring to a new school and would be the ONLY new girl in 4th grade. I was nervous about the challenges and changes I had to face.
As the first African-American to win an individual Olympic medal she became my role model to work hard in practice and believe in myself.
My hard work paid off! I qualified for both the Level 5 Zone and State Competition in 2006. Although I didn’t “place” at the State Competition I still gave my personal best! And….there’s always next year!