Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

This Olympic Gymnast Paved The Way For Black Athletes

Dianne Durham paved the way for Black athletes as she became the first African American gymnast to make the U.S. national team and the first to become a national champion. 

At just 14 years young, Durham won the national all-around title and took home gold in vault, balance beam, and floor exercises in 1983. She was one of the top ranked gymnasts in the country during this time.

“What she did is open the door and say any young girl, not any young white girl, can win and be great in this sport,” says Durham’s longtime friend Paul Ziert, publisher of International Gymnast magazine, to ESPN

In the 1980’s, Bela and Martha Karolyi left their coaching careers in Romania to join the U.S. national team. The U.S. gymnastics community was slow to accept the Karolyis as they trained to transform the U.S. into a winning team.

They quickly found a star in Dianne Durham, coaching her to become their first national champion. Durham’s success was a major factor in the Karolyis establishing their coaching careers with the U.S. national team.

Durham saw her national championship title as her next step towards being an Olympic gymnast. Unfortunately, Durham’s Olympic dreams fell short after she endured multiple injuries which cost her a spot on the team. 

After a successful but short career, Durham would not let her injuries take gymnastics out of her life. She continued coaching and judging gymnastics, as well as owning and running her own gym, Skyline Gymnastics, for 17 years.

In June of 2020 Durham posted the following comments on her Facebook page, “In my own life and gymnastics career I encountered discrimination and prejudice. It didn’t stop me from reaching all of my goals, but it did play a role in preventing me from reaching some of my biggest goals…. People are now standing up and calling out wrong when they see it. We need to continue to do this. That is the only way that we can make this change permanent.”

Photo CreditFacebook, Twitter, Pixabay



“There is nothing like being part of a team. You win, lose, sweat, cry, break bones, love/hate your coaches, travel, fitness test together. And that bond is so strong. Show up for your team and they’ll show up for you.” #repost
(Via: @katetparker)

The Sacred Heart University Pioneers will set a regional precedent with the launch of an NCAA Division I women’s wrestling team. The University will become the first college in New England to offer Division I women’s wrestling and the second to offer it nationwide! 🤼‍♀️ ...

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