Connect with us

Seeing Butterflies

Legacy of first Black woman to win a US gymnastics championship lives on

Black Women in Sports

Legacy of first Black woman to win a US gymnastics championship lives on

by: Tonya Francisco via https://wgntv.com/

Before Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas wowed the world and dared many to believe, and even before Dominique Dawes and Betty Okino, there was Dianne Durham.

Durham was the first Black woman to win a U.S. gymnastics national championship.

“People referred to her as a pioneer and trailblazer,” Durham’s husband Tom Drahozal said.

Drahozal married Dianne Durham in 1994 and witnessed firsthand much of what defined his wife’s career and life.

“She always kept telling me that you know she loves gymnastics and she tells me it’s the greatest sport there is,” Drahozal said.

Durham grew up in Gary, where her parents enrolled her in gymnastics to stop her from tearing up furniture. Soon afterwards, she was tearing up gymnastics circuits, winning junior championships.

In 1981, Durham moved to Houston to train with famed gymnastic coach Bela Karolyi. By the time she was 14, she was setting the senior circuit on fire, winning gold medals in all-around, balance beam, vault and floor exercises, all while changing the way women approached the sport.

“Between Dianne and Mary Lou Retton, they introduced power gymnastics,” Drahozal said.

Paul Ziert is a close friend of Durham, as well as the personal coach of two-time Olympic champion Bart…

Read More: Legacy of first Black woman to win a US gymnastics championship lives on

Continue Reading
You may also like...
Chrysalis

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

More in Black Women in Sports

What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

Flying High

To Top