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Dianne Durham receives HOF nomination


USA Gymnastics announced its 2021 Hall of Fame class on Friday, among them pioneer gymnast Dianne Durham.

Durham was the first African American athlete to win the all-around senior title at the women’s US National Championships in 1983. She dominated the competition at that event, winning gold on vault, balance beam and floor exercise. 

The last gymnast to beat Mary Lou Retton in all-around competition, Durham was seemingly a lock for the 1984 Olympics before injuries and politics kept her off the team. 

After retiring from competition at 16, she moved to Chicago where she became a coach, gym owner and national-level judge. In February, at age 52, Durham passed away from an undisclosed illness. 

“While our community continues to mourn Dianne’s passing, her trailblazing legacy lives on each day in gyms across the country,” USA Gymnastics president Li Li Leung told ESPN in a statement. “We could not be more pleased that the Hall of Fame Committee has chosen to memorialize Dianne’s significant and lasting contribution to our sport in this special way.”

The induction ceremony for 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame inductees will take place alongside Olympic trials in St. Louis. Durham’s husband, Tom Drahozal and her sister, Alice Durham Woods, plan to attend and accept the award on her behalf.