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Dominique Dawes, Nadia Comaneci Share Advice for Olympic Hopefuls: ‘Enjoy the Journey’

Forty years ago, Nadia Comaneci scored the first-ever perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics, in Montreal. Twenty years later, Dominique Dawes made history as the first African-American woman to earn a gold medal in the sport during the Atlanta Games. This summer, Simone Biles, who just won her fourth straight national championship, looks to dominate in Rio as the smallest gymnast. 

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Nadia Comaneci
Nadia Comaneci

So it’s a natural partnership that the three accomplished athletes join forces with Tide Pods for its “Evolution of Power” video. “I was 14-and-a-half, and I wasn’t going to the Olympics to score the first perfect 10. It just happened because I was prepared enough to do that,” Comaneci, who earned nine Olympic medals over her career, tells Us Weekly. “But now that I look back, it’s very emotional. It’s great to share all of this together in different generations: my generation, Dominique’s generation and Simone’s.”

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Simone Biles
Simone Biles acknowledges the crowd after winning first place in the balance beam competition during the Sr. Women’s 2016 Secret U.S. Classic on June 4 in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Of the 4-foot-8-inch Biles, Dawes believes she will reign in Rio. “If she stays healthy and she qualifies, she will likely lead the U.S. team to another gold medal in the team competition. And then she’ll probably be all-around gold and then she could win three individual gold medals on the different apparatuses,” Dawes predicts. “It is incredible.”

While her performance may look natural and effortless, it doesn’t come without plenty of sweat equity. “This doesn’t happen overnight,” Comaneci says. “I couldn’t do everything in the first or second day; it took me years to be able to get to the achievement that I’ve had. I wasn’t perfect from the beginning. Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do.” 

The Rio Olympics begin August 5 and will be streamed live on and the NBC Sports app. The Rio Paralympics begin on September 7 and will be streamed live on

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