Dianne Durham, the first Black woman to win a USA Gymnastics national championship who later became a gymnastics instructor in Chicago, will be inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. | Lisa Genesen/AP
Durham was the first Black woman to win a USA Gymnastics national championship and later became a gymnastics instructor in Chicago.
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.
The other Hall of Fame inductees are:
The 2004 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team
Jim Aamodt – Longtime trampoline and tumbling coach and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
Rebecca Bross – Six-time women’s artistic world medalist
Chris Estrada – 2008 Olympian in trampoline
Gene Watson – Longtime men’s program coach and volunteer.