"Drawn To Challenges"
Dawn Staley's success came early in her career, starting with being named the National High School Player of the Year to then a four time Olympic gold-medallist. With dozens of recognition, prestigious honors, and championships in between, Dawn is the most decorated player and coach there has ever been, but it was not handed to her.
There’s no pressure quite like being the head coach of an Olympic team and keeping a streak of 6 gold medals alive. But Dawn is drawn to challenges. After falling short in 2 of 3 exhibition games, she wanted that gold even more. "It's amazing when you're faced with some adversity, how much people really analyse and scrutinize," she says.
"I Gotta mOOve"
The seventh gold medal was captured by Dawn and her team, though she’s quick to note how, "Everybody sees the success. Nobody's mind really goes to what it took to be successful." The day-to-day dedication and rigor of training and preparation takes a toll on the body and requires a focus on recovery to bounce back. Basketball is a high-impact sport - jumping, sprinting, pivoting - all done on a hardwood floor. That doesn't even take into account the work done off the court, in the gym - where Dawn still finds herself most days.
Dawn’s journey to success didn't come without injury. She’s had 5 surgeries on her right knee, and three on her left knee. To this day, she walks with a limp. Dawn frequently jokes that “people think it’s a cool thing, but it’s a limp!” Looking back, she knows the adversity she was able to overcome, both mentally and physically, was well worth it all.
Relying on both OOFOS and her mother’s mantra, "I’m hoppin. I’m not stopping," Dawns stays in the game. It may take her a little longer to get out of bed, but her dog, Champ, helps her with that, "Champ needs his exercise, that's my boy—and I get me a four mile walk in every single day. I gotta move."
"Seriously Life Changing"
5 years ago, Dawn was gifted her first pair of OOFOS and from then on they became essential. A pair at work, a pair at home, a pair in her overnight bag, there’s not a single place she’s willing to go without them - even more recently, to Tokyo for another gold-medal performance. "I find that being a former athlete, we are creatures of habit. I wake up in the morning - I slide into my Oofos. If you have knees and ankles like I have, it creates such a comfort ... that they become my habit."
"Having a strong connection with my players is a prerequisite for me. I absolutely have to have that connection." Dawn is in a unique position to be a "dream Merchant" for players, to guide them, having been a player and coach. Believing that everyone has the talent to do something important is a lesson she instils in her players, and she’s made it her goal to help young athletes find out what their "something" is.
Her legacy is still being written; and OOFOS is helping her write it. Life is filled with adversity - mentally and physically, and Dawn knows that the work she is doing on and off the court won't get easier, but she knows that when she looks back, she'll say, "It was well worth it."
She now also heads the Dawn Staley Foundation, which gives middle-school children a positive influence in their lives by sponsoring an after-school program at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center, focusing on academics and athletics.