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U.S. Olympian Destinee Hooker

I'm PROUD of My Name!

'People Can Be Childish'

8/1/2012 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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U.S. Olympic volleyball badass Destinee Hooker knows people are amused by her name ... she knows some people laugh ... but she doesn't care ... she believes it's a "blessing."

Hooker -- who's CRUSHING it in London right now (indoor team is undefeated!) -- tells TMZ, "When it comes to my name, I honestly find nothing wrong with it. I love my name."

Still, Destinee admits she's not deaf to the jokes ... "I have been dealing with it since I was a child. People can be childish."

There was almost no Destinee Hooker at all ... the 24-year-old tells us she nearly died at birth, and when she survived, her father was inspired to give her the name "Destinee."

"Since I was a blessing, [my father] spelled it uniquely. So I am thankful to be here and glad my Dad gave me the name."

Destinee adds, "No reporters have asked me about my name. You are the first :) thank you for asking by the way."

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