Dianne Durham (died February 4th, aged 52)
Artistic gymnast Dianne Durham died after a short illness at a Chicago hospital. Durham rose to prominence after winning the all-around senior title at the women’s U.S National Championships in 1983. Her overall performance in the competition earned her four gold medals and the distinction of being the first African American gymnast to become the U.S. all-around champion.
After injuries and competition stipulations prevented her from competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics, Durham retired from the competition the following year. Durham became a coach at the University of Illinois in Chicago and later ran her own gymnastics school Skyline Gymnastics. Durham was inducted to the U.S. Gymnastics Regional Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Her personality was bubbly and she was a very charismatic individual who was respected and admired by a lot of people,” Durham’s husband Tom Drahozal said of the late athlete-turned-coach. “Whether highest level or recreation class, all the students admired her because she treated them all the same.”