My Moment Of Truth

By Caroline V. Clarke, Wynton Marsalis by Sonja D. Brown

is one of the most renowned interventional cardiologists in the country, named on BE’s most recent list of America’s leading black doctors (August 2001).

“I never feel like I have to be totally dependent on myself to ensure my success,” he says. “It’s so liberating not to depend on man or anyone in your immediate environment to sanction your steps. I totally depend on God to create my pathway. That makes me feel somewhat impenetrable, even in today’s world.”

Leggett’s faith also gets him through the do-or-die moments he faces in his work almost daily. “People try every day to hurt you. They try every day to limit your success or destroy you. But they can’t. You have angels watching over you and they can’t. I’m not trying to be all existentialist, that’s just where I am. And I will always have my wife and that summer to thank for that.”

DOMINIQUE DAWES
MY MOMENT OF TRUTH
WHEN I FINALLY ASKED, “WHAT DO I WANT?”
Dominique Dawes Olympic Gold Medalist Motivational Speaker
Dominique Dawes’ young life has been a series of dazzling, dramatic highlights. She began taking gymnastics at age 6 and was competing by age 10. Just five years later, she burst onto the international scene in 1992, becoming the first African American gymnast to ever qualify and compete in the Olympic Games in Barcelona.

By the time she retired, following the 2000 Olympic Games in Syd
ney, Australia (Dawes retired twice — once in 1998 and finally in 2000), she had won more national championship medals than any other athlete — male or female — as well as four world championship medals, two Olympic bronze medals and one gold. Perhaps because Dawes was saturated by the spotlight for so many years, her moment of truth came at a quiet time, devoid of drama, cameras, coaches, or fans. “I was sitting at home just thinking, brainstorming about my life,” she recalls. “There was no real single experience that brought me to that moment. I had retired (for the first time), I was working on my degree in communications from the University of Maryland, and I was doing a lot of [public] speaking, some gymnastics commentary, and some acting. (Dawes played cheerleader Patty Simcox in the 1997 Broadway production of Grease.) I had been doing all of the things everyone around me kept telling me I’d be good at. But I was somewhat on autopilot. I was doing things to please other people, not because I really had a passion for them. I was almost a robot. Whatever people said was good for me, I’d just say, ‘Okay. Fine. I’ll do it.’”

But one night, at home alone in Maryland, Dawes confronted a critical question for the first time. “I asked myself what I really wanted to do. I felt almost like I was dreaming, I had never asked myself that. From the time I was young, I was guided in a very structured way. That was good for my gymnastics career, I needed it then. But when I retired, I kept

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ACROSS THE WEB