Saturday, June 12, 2021

Dianne Durham, first Black national gymnastics champion, to be inducted into USAG Hall of Fame

USA Gymnastics announced Friday that Dianne Durham, the first Black woman to win a USA Gymnastics national championship and a gymnastics instructor in Chicago, will be a member of its Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Durham, who died in February at age 52, was a pioneer in American gymnastics. Her victory in the all-around at the 1983 national championships as a teenager was the first by a Black woman.

An injury prevented her from competing in the 1984 Olympic Trials.

“I think between her and Mary Lou Retton, they felt they introduced more of a power gymnastics,” Durham’s husband, Tom Drahozal, told the Associated Press in February. “Dianne was a pioneer for Black gymnasts as well. ... She paved the way for others.”

After her career in competition ended, Durham went on to own Skyline Gymnastics in Chicago and was a gymnastics instructor at Morgan Park Academy Summer Camp.


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