March 5, 2007

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)
Over 1,000 essays were submitted in the Golden State Warriors "Black History Month Essay Contest". In 300 words or less children ages 7-12 were asked to write an essay answering the question, "What impact has an African-American athlete had on my life?" Contest winner Olivia Lucas was selected as the Grand Prize Winner, and as part of her winning prize, Olivia and her family were flown to Washington, D.C. to watch the Warriors take on the Wizards on March 4. The entire family also had the opportunity to meet Baron Davis prior to the game, posing for pictures and getting autographs from the Warriors star point guard.

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.

After completing an “Amazing American” assignment for my 4th grade class I realized that Dominique had to overcome some challenges too. Her self determination and dedication to 7 hour training days helped me to overcome my fears. I thought “Surely, I could train 3 hours for 3 days each week for level 5”. She helped me realize that to be great at anything took hard work!

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!