Black Gymnasts in History 2018: Gymnastics Firsts & Record Holders

This year, our third year profiling Black Gymnasts in History, we’ve given a different focus. We’ve highlighted some of the most unique accomplishments of gymnasts, from going viral to winning World Championship medals. On this final day of February, we honor the gymnasts whose accomplishments were the first of their kind among black gymnasts and sometimes among gymnasts of any race (and in some cases, the athletes below established records that still stand).

Please click on the names to read our individual profiles, as available, for each athlete below.

James Kanati Allen
First black male gymnast to be named to the U.S. Olympic Team (1968)

Simone Biles
Most decorated American gymnast in history, with 19 Olympic & World Championship medals
American gymnast, male or female, with the most gold medals won at a single Olympic Games (4 in 2016)

Dickie Bivins
First black male gymnast to win an individual medal at the World Championships (1980: Platform tumbling, Bronze & Power Tumbling, Bronze)

Shenea Booth
First black Sports Acro Mixed Pairs world champion (2002, 2004)

Luci Collins
First black female gymnast to be named to the U.S. Olympic Team (1980)

Dominique Dawes
First black female gymnast to attend more than one Olympics (1992, 1996, 200)
First black female gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal (Floor bronze, 1996)
Only American gymnast to be a member of three medal-winning Olympic teams (1992, 1996, 2000)

Gabby Douglas
First black Olympic all-around champion (2012)

Dianne Durham

First black gymnast to win the U.S. Classic (1983)
First black female U.S. all-around champion (1983)
First black female gymnast to win an individual national event title (1983 Vault, Balance Beam, Floor)

Ron Galimore
First black male gymnast to win an individual national event title (1977 Floor, Vault)

Rayshine Harris
Most decorated black U.S. power tumbler (12-time World Champion and 5-time National Champion)

Wendy Hilliard
First black gymnast to represent the USA in rhythmic gymnastics (1980s)

Jair Lynch
First black male gymnast to attend more than one Olympics (1992, 1996)
First black male gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal (Parallel Bars silver, 1996)

Alexandra Nicholson
First black female gymnast to win an individual medal at the World Championships (1972: Trampoline, Gold)
First trampolinist, male or female, to complete the triffis

Sig Oglesby
First black NCAA individual event champion (Vault, 1964):
First black All-American gymnast

Betty Okino
First black gymnast, male or female, to win the American Cup (1991)

John Orozco
First black male U.S. all-around champion (2012)

Taqiy Abdullah Simmons
First black NCAA male all-around champion (2007)

Corrinne Wright
First black NCAA female all-around champion (1980s)

We are proud to salute these record-setting athletes on this final day of Black Gymnasts in History 2018!

Wendy

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Black Gymnasts in History 2018: Winners of the U.S. Classic

Every year, the U.S. Classic precedes the National Championships, and during an Olympic year, it’s especially significant. Since the competition’s start in 1983, won by Dianne Durham, seven black gymnasts have won the title of U.S. Classic champion. Please take the time to watch these ladies in action!

Dianne Durham, 1983

Dominique Dawes, 1993

Tasha Schwikert, 2001

Annia Hatch, 2002

Olivia Courtney, 2009

Mattie Larson, 2010

Simone Biles, 2014 & 2015

We are proud to salute our Black Gymnasts who have won the U.S. Classic!

Wendy

Visit our official website at http://www.whfny.org
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Black Gymnasts in History 2018: Dianne Durham

 

DianneDurham (2)

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.

Wendy

Visit our official website at www.wendyhilliard.org
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