First Elite Black Female American gymnast Diane Durham



Dianne Durham was born on June 17, 1968


1981 Jr. US National Championships: 1st AA
1982 Jr. US National Championships: 1st AA
1982 Chunichi Cup: 10th AA
1983 Chunichi Cup: 3rd AA
1983 US National Championships: 1st AA
183 Pre-Olympic Invitational: 1st AA
1984 American Cup: 8th AA (Prelims)
1984 US National Championships: 7th AA
1984 US Olympic Trials: 6th AA after compulsories (did not complete due to injury)
1985 American Classic: 3rd AA

The majority of these results were compiled from information found at Gymn Forum

Dianne Durham, a two-time Junior National Champion and one-time Senior National Champion, was Bela Karolyi’s first elite gymnast in the United States. She and Mary Lou Retton were close rivals in the gym and in competition; while Dianne won the 1983 Nationals, Mary Lou won the 1984 Nationals. Interestingly, Dianne was supposed to compete in the 1983 American Cup, but was injured at the last moment and was replaced by Mary Lou. Mary Lou, a virtual unknown at the time, seized the opportunity and won the American Cup title.



On track to make the 1984 Olympic team, Dianne faltered a bit at the 1984 Nationals to placed 7th and then was injured during Olympic Trials on vault. Standing in sixth place after compulsories at the Olympic Trials, Dianne was led to believe that she could be petitioned onto the team and she withdrew from the meet on grounds of injury. However, she learned later that as she had not competed in the World Championships in 1983, she did not qualify to be petitioned onto the team. Dianne and others have said that had she been on that team, there is a chance the women’s silver medal at the 1984 Olympics would have been gold.

While she was disappointed that she did not compete in the Olympics, Dianne continued in the sport of gymnastics in exhibitions, and as a coach. She also diverted some of her energy towards professional dancing. In 1992, she spent six weeks in Osaka, Japan, performing in American Entertainment’s hip-hop dance show.

After returning from Japan, Dianne spent some time in California, rehearsing for a dance group that performed during the closing ceremonies for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. In October of 1992, she partcipated in the Sudafed Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular alongside Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Wendy Hilliard, Brandy Johnson, Peggy Flemming, Brian Orser, Lavinia Agache, and many other top gymnasts and figure skaters.

According to IG online, Dianne has since earned her national judges card and has recently opened up Skyline Gymnastics in Chicago, IL where both gymnastics and dance are taught. She has been married for four years to Tom Drahozal, a teacher and coach.

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