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Dianne Durham

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Dianne Durham was born in Gary, Indiana back in 1968.  At the tender age of four she started training for the Olympics.  When she was thirteen she was coached by Bela Karolyi.  Dianne was to become Bela’s first elite American Gymnast.  Dianne competed in several international competitions including Japan, Belgium and China.

When she was not competing, she worked at the Morgan Park Academy as a gymnastics teacher. In 1983, she competed in the McDonalds International Competition winning a silver medal.  She injured her knee and that prevented her from competing in the world championships.  In 1984, she won the Silver Medal in the Chunichi Cup, later that same year she withdrew from the 1984 US Olympic Team Competition. Later in life she became a judge, coach and motivational speaker for gymnasts.  She died in 2021, she was 52.

What you may not know about Dianne is that she also competed in the 1983 USA Gymnastics National Championship, where she won, making her the first African American to win the title.

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Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, James... I follow women's gymnastics, but for some reason Dianne's name isn't ringing a bell. But she certainly paved the way for other African American gymnasts whose names are well known today. Shame she died so young... she could have been an inspiration for so many more years.

Feb 09, 2021 04:00 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Feb 09, 2021 04:17 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello James - I don't recognize her name but her coach is quite recognizable from scanning  the pages of news in the world of women's gymnastics.  Gone far too soon.   

Feb 09, 2021 04:35 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I have never heard of this woman and I can't even imagine trying to achieve a goal that so few are ever able to achieve by competing in the Olympics.

Feb 09, 2021 05:04 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Must say I don't recognize the name it does bring some himts of sport news from the 80's in Chicago. Enjoy your day.

Feb 09, 2021 05:04 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I do not remember her James Dray and I followed gymnastics back then because that is where I excelled back in my school days.

Feb 09, 2021 05:30 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi James Dray - so sorry to hear that such an accomplished woman died at a young age.

Feb 09, 2021 06:33 AM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I really got interested in gymnastics while in college, watching men and women teams compete. These athletes are so outstanding and the injuries they sustain in this sport are rough. Both sports drew low fan attendance and mens gymnastics was cut from the sports program. DD Breaux built LSU womens gymnastics to a powerhouse and now pack 13,0000 fans.

Feb 09, 2021 07:25 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We enjoy watching gymnastics especially during the Olynpics.  I don't recall the story of Dianne, however I am happy you told us about her.

Feb 09, 2021 07:37 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning James Dray I can't recall hearing of this young lady. Such a loss at such a young age.

Feb 09, 2021 08:05 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

Good morning James,

I watched her once on the boob tube and she was very good, reminds me of Simone.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Feb 09, 2021 08:08 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Hooray for another female black athlete who followed her dream and won a gymnastics national championship James Dray 

Feb 09, 2021 10:15 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Dianne sounds like one tough & determined woman. Coming back from a knee injury & continuing to compete at the highest level again is extraordinary. Kudos to her & all her accomplishments.

Feb 09, 2021 01:38 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi James- I too was not familiar with her name but yes, very familiar with her coach. Such a shame that she died at such a young age. 

Feb 09, 2021 03:34 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi James,  Thank you for sharing this story of another first.  Her efforts did help pave the way for other African American gymnasts.

Feb 09, 2021 09:29 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Another amazing woman who broke a glass ceiling and paved the way for those who followed, such as Simon Biles, to shine.

Sep 04, 2021 09:07 AM