Chicagoan Dianne Durham will be inducted into USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame

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/APDurham 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.

Chicagoan Dianne Durham will be inducted into USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame
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.
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.