Never mind that she was 3 years old. The talent already was there.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
But Dominique Dawes had no way of knowing at such a tender age that she would one day vault into the spotlight as an elite gymnast.
"I was just a child who liked to tumble and roll around," she said.
Dawes said her mother remembers that first flip on the bed — a move by the toddler that was self-taught.
"I was an active kid," she said. "So my mother signed me and my older sister, Danielle, up for a gymnastics class. I instantly fell in love with the sport and, of course, it became my passion."
Dawes grew up to become one of America's sweetheart gymnasts — a three-time Olympian who inspired a generation of young girls to follow in her footsteps.
Today, at 35, she still is inspiring people. But this time it's not just about gymnastics. It's about encouraging individuals to lead healthier lifestyles.
Dawes is co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition — a position she has held for about two years alongside NFL quarterback Drew Brees.
In her role, Dawes said she's a bit of an ambassador talking to people about physical activity and making the right food choices.
She also talks about setting goals and the importance of building healthy self-esteem, which she believes is especially critical among young people.
Dawes will be bringing her message to Shepherd University on Wednesday, Feb. 22, as the guest speaker for National Recreation Sports and Fitness Day — an event that focuses on the positive benefits of recreational sports, fitness and wellness.
Hosted by Shepherd University Intramurals, the talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Storer Ballroom and is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the community.
"I have always tried to encourage young kids to get involved in sports and have talked about the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition," Dawes said. "Now, to do it on this platform with this administration truly is an honor."
Dawes said she began training as a gymnast when she was 6 years old and it wasn't long before she had a goal of one day competing in the Olympics.
Growing up in Silver Spring, Md., "I was already competing locally and regionally by the time I was 10 and I think it was pretty evident that I had a significant amount of talent," she said. "More importantly, I had the drive and dedication to the sport and so I started dreaming of going to the Olympics and thinking about the journey that it would take to get there.
"Of course, as a young girl you have no clue the amount of commitment it would take, not only from me but also my coach and my family," she added. "Just knowing the bumps I would have to face — it's definitely something I could never have envisioned."
But Dawes said once she set an Olympic goal, her commitment level rose "and that changed my life forever. I had to overcome a great deal of fear. I had to change my attitude. And I had to do all these things every single day."
Dawes not only made it to the Olympics, she did so three times, winning team medals at each game.