Dianne Durham Wiki
Dianne Durham Biography
Dianne Durham, who was the first black woman to be a USA Gymnastics national champion, died in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 52, according to USA Gymnastics.
Durham died Feb. 4 in Chicago after an undisclosed “brief illness,” and her husband also confirmed her death, according to NBC Chicago.
“I think between her and Mary Lou Retton, they felt they introduced more of a power gymnastics,” Durham’s husband, Tom Drahozal, told NBC Chicago. “Dianne was also a pioneer of black gymnasts … she paved the way for others.”
“She passed away peacefully,” Drahozal told ESPN. “She was the love of my life and everything I could have asked for. She was such a beautiful person away from gymnastics as within sport. ”
According to UPI, she died in a Chicago hospital with her husband and her sister by her side.
In a statement, USA Gymnastics wrote: “We are deeply saddened to share the passing of gymnastics icon Dianne Durham on February 4. Dianne dominated the 1983 national championships, capturing the full title en route to four golds (balance beam, floor exercise, and jump) and one silver (uneven bars). In doing so, she became the first black gymnast to hold the title of United States champion. ”
Durham Was Remembered as a Trailblazer & ‘Bright Light’
“Noooooo. I LOVED Dianne Durham… I’m a huge gymnastics enthusiast and I’m exactly the same age as Dianne. I saw her compete live in the 1980s. What a terrible loss. RIP.”
“My heart is broken. Dianne was a shining light, a trailblazer. A sweet soul,” wrote journalist Felicia Middlebrooks. A few hours before Durham’s death, she wrote: “Asking prayers for Dianne Durham, who paved the way for Today’s best black Olympic gymnasts and trained by Bela Karolyi. She was the first elite gymnast of the 1980s and was born in Gary, IND. I used to be her babysitter. She is very ill, but struggling. ”
A petition was started for her to be inducted into the gymnastics hall of fame.
“I’m not even remotely qualified to say anything truly about Dianne Durham’s passing, but the eloquence and shock of what has been written and said about her today is striking, and speaks to the legacy of a remarkable athlete who changed the sport. so. many after her, ”wrote another.
Another woman wrote simply: “Trailblazer. Rest in peace #DianneDurham. ”
“We are heartbroken to learn of Dianne’s passing,” USA Gymnastics CEO Li Li Leung said in the statement. “As an icon and a pioneer in our sport, Dianne opened the doors to generations of gymnasts who followed her, and her legacy continues every day in gyms across the country. Our thoughts are with her friends and family during this difficult time. ”
Durham Was Bela Karolyi’s First National Champion
Durham was the first national champion in the United States trained by the famous Bela Karolyi, according to ESPN.
She was especially regarded as a powerful jumper, the site reports, and was a teammate of Mary Lou Retton.
“What she did was open the door and say that any young woman, not any young white woman, can win and be great at this sport,” Paul Ziert, editor of International Gymnast magazine, told ESPN of Durham’s accomplishments, which they raided. the path to the successes of other black gymnasts, like Simone Biles.
An injury to her ankle cost her the Olympic trials and she was Retton’s most formidable competitor. In later years, she and her husband ran Skyline Gymnastics in Chicago, according to Gymn-forum.net.
Durham was born in Gary, Indiana.
According to Encyclopedia.com, the ankle injury interrupted a promising career, but not after many accomplishments. “One of the best gymnasts in America, she started doing gymnastics on a local Y when she was four years old,” the site reported.
She became an elite youth champion, won a silver at the McDonald’s International Championship, and then went on to win the national gymnastics competition, earning gold in all but uneven bars, according to Encyclopedia.com.