Dominique Dawes, the three-time Olympian who was a member of the “Magnificent Seven” that won a gold medal in women’s gymnastics team competition for the United States at the 1996 Summer Olympics, is planning to open a gymnastics academy in Columbia.

The Silver Spring native currently operates Dominique Dawes Gymnastics Academy & Ninja at two locations in Montgomery County. She opened her first location in Clarksburg in 2020 and her second in Rockville in 2023.

Dawes took to her business’ Instagram account to announce the planned opening of the Columbia location and offered a video tour.

“Have you heard the news? We’re coming to Columbia, MD! 📍” Dawes wrote on Instagram. “We’re thrilled to share the exciting news of our third location. We are so grateful for your support as we strive to impact even more families with our mission of empowering children in a positive environment through gymnastics and ninja.”

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The post received more than 700 likes and dozens of comments from people excited to enroll their children in classes.

“Okkkkk I’m happy about this!” one commenter wrote, saying she had taken her daughter to one of the Montgomery County locations but now planned to re-enroll her.

Many people also asked in the comments when a location might open in another Maryland county or in the District of Columbia.

Although Dawes hasn’t announced an opening date, she offered a peek at the progress of construction in a May 10 Instagram post.

“Very exciting. Things are moving along smoothly. Stay tuned,” she said. At the end of May, she said, she plans to open early bird registration for fall programming.

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Dawes was not available for comment, her gym said.

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Dawes, 47, was a member of the first U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team to win a gold medal in team competition, in Atlanta in 1996. In addition to Dawes, the “Magnificent Seven” included Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps and Amanda Borden.

Nicknamed “Awesome Dawesome,” she is one of only three U.S. women’s gymnasts to compete at three Olympics; she also represented the U.S. in Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000. She won team bronze medals in 1992 and 2000 and an individual bronze on floor exercise in 1996.

Dawes attended Montgomery Blair and Gaithersburg high schools in Montgomery County and is a 2002 graduate of the University of Maryland.

Gymnast Dominique Dawes was a medalist at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Dawes has also spoken out against the “toxic culture” that she said she experienced as a young gymnast.

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On her gym’s website, she wrote, “We understand the importance of gymnastics as a sport, but we also recognize the toxic culture that has plagued the sport in the past. Our goal is to change this paradigm and create a healthy and nurturing environment for all children.”

Dawes has spoken out against Larry Nassar, the former longtime U.S. gymnastics team doctor who assaulted hundreds of women, including some of the nation’s top gymnasts. In 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

On April 23, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $138.7 million settlement “with more than 100 people who accused the FBI of grossly mishandling allegations of sexual assault against Larry Nassar in 2015 and 2016, a critical time gap that allowed the sports doctor to continue to prey on victims before his arrest,” according to The Associated Press.

Dawes said on her website that, to prioritize the mental and physical health of children who attend her gyms, she limits the hours that children can train and makes sure children know the importance of having “a well-rounded life outside of gymnastics.”

Her gyms offer classes, including some for home-schooled children ages 4 to 14, and parent and child classes for children ages 9 months to 5 years. They also offer recreational gym and tumbling classes and ninja warrior training — martial arts, obstacle courses and gymnastic techniques — for children ages 4 to 13.

Day camps and summer camps are also offered at the gymnastics academy’s locations.