Today we feature Dianne Durham, a powerhouse and amazing gymnast.
At the 1983 National Championships in Chicago, my team, the Detroit Metro Gymnasts, were guest performers. The day before the finals, I realized that Dianne was poised to become the All-Around National Champion the next day. I called my mom and told her she needed to drive down to see this incredible event. And the next day- wow! Dianne Durham became the first Black All-Around Women’s Gymnastics Senior National Champion. My mom is from East Chicago, Indiana, right next to Gary where Dianne is from and so she was doubly proud.
Those that were able to witness Dianne’s gymnastics know that she was just one of the best! The heartbreaking circumstances that prevented her from competing at the 1984 Olympics are a loss to all of us who so admired her gymnastics.
I was fortunate to perform with Dianne in numerous gymnastics shows. Thanks to Paul Ziert, who still produces great gymnastics TV events worldwide. We had a great time performing a variety of routines, but my favorite was a trio with me, Dianne and Olympic Champion skater Robin Cousins.
Dianne is a national judge and it is wonderful that she gives back to the sport. I was (and still am) a fan, and she inspired me as she did so many others.
Dianne Durham – a woman of many firsts in our sport and we are so proud to feature you in our Black Gymnasts in History project.
Read all about the highlights of Dianne’s career here: http://www.gymn.ca/gymnasticgreats/wag/durham.htm
Watch a video clip of Dianne on uneven bars at the 1983 U.S. Nationals.