POLITICS

Olympic gymnast wouldn't challenge Michelle Obama

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Alicia M. Cohn

Former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes would back down from challenging Michelle Obama to a fitness face-off after seeing the first lady score at push-ups and jump rope.

"I think she's a tiny bit competitive and I'm pretty competitive, and I think I would be wise to make sure she won," Dawes told Yeas & Nays on Tuesday. "[The kids] don't need to see us adults duking it out."

The 1996 gold medalist, now co-chair to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, was on Capitol Hill for National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which is Wednesday. She has also worked with the first lady's anti-obesity initiatives and accompanied Obama -- who she credited with an athlete's "good rhythm" -- as part of the presidential delegation to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Dawes said she admires the first family for "walking the walk" on health and fitness, and thinks Malia and Sasha set a good example for getting girls involved in sports.

Although the Obama daughters have recently played basketball and tennis on school teams, Dawes said she doesn't see the first daughters getting involved in gymnastics.

"They look kinda tall and I'm not so tall," said the Maryland native, who pointed out her own sassy 5-inch heels. "And our first lady and the president are not petite people."

Also at the event were former Olympians Esther Lofgren, Sarah Hughes and Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Winter X Games medalist Grete Eliassen and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., showing support for programs that would get more high school girls involved in sports.

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