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Robert Fikes

, gymnast and coach, was born in south central Ohio and raised in Summithill, the son of Blaine Coons, a farmer, and Grace (maiden name unknown), a barber. When Orlando was seven years old his grandfather sold the family farm and he and his mother moved from Summithill to Los Angeles, California. At age fourteen he first saw a champion gymnast perform when he used a complimentary pass to the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Although the sport aroused his interest, he lacked the means to train for it. Orlando graduated from Jefferson High School.

Coons went on to find work in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a job that landed him in San Diego in 1935. In 1938 he enrolled at San Diego State College majoring in engineering He worked odd jobs to support himself among them pouring cement for sidewalks and providing room service at the U ...


Kennetta Hammond Perry

Although she had already established a stellar record in the arena of women’s gymnastics by the time she was twenty years old, through the years Dominique Dawes has continued to show her commitment to athletics and public service. In addition to developing a world-class reputation in sports, Dawes has also been an advocate for a number of important issues, including highway safety for young drivers and increasing self-esteem for young women.

Dominique Dawes was born to Don and Loretta Dawes in Silver Spring, Maryland. At an early age her parents enrolled her in gymnastics classes, a move that allowed her to enter uncharted territory and build an impressive array of accomplishments. Dawes began competing at age nine, and by the time she was twelve, she had entered her first international championship, placing sixteenth in the all-around competition in Brisbane, Australia.

With each passing year Dawes cultivated her skills as a ...


Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 10 February 1983, the second of four daughters of Moacir and Magda dos Santos. Her father worked in the state juvenile justice system, and her mother worked as a public health aide. Dos Santos began gymnastics training at the age of 8, after a gymnastics coach saw her performing pirouettes at a playground near her home. By the age of 12, she had developed into a national champion, and in 1998 she won the gold medal in the floor exercises at a World Cup event in Canberra, Australia. In 1999, dos Santos captured the silver medal in the vault and bronze medals in the floor exercise and team competition at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, she participated as an alternate on the Brazilian gymnastics team.

After the 2000 Olympic ...