Gary, Indiana has produced a variety of prominent public figures. Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and family are some of the most notable mentions but doesn’t limit the city to it. The list of remarkable names range from economist (Joseph E. Stiglitz) and reach to former NBA players including Glenn Robinson then stretched all the way to rappers such as Freddie Gibbs. This small midwestern town has produced some of the greats and also was the birth place of one of the 1st Black gymnast in the country namely Dianne Durham who has died at 52.
Durham was only 14 years old when she performed in front of thousands of people on America’s largest gymnastics platform in 1983. In less than two minutes she would soar through a polished floor routine and fly through the air to land in a double twist with her hands raised as only a champion would. Her performance would earn her a resounding round of applause and four gold medals. It also penned her name in the history books as the first Black gymnast to ever achieve such victories. Her career was short and sweet but inarguably set an exemplar for ethnic athletes.
The Gold medalist’s would later suffer an ankle injury that catapulted her to coaching & gym ownership as a way to still take part in the sport. Her husband spoke to CNN regarding his late wife saying “Her personality was bubbly and she was a very charismatic individual who was respected and admired by a lot of people. Whether highest level or recreation class, all the students admired her because she treated them the same.”
The departed champion previously spoke on her home town stating “ the city of Gary was behind me 100,000%. She also released a statement following the death of George Floyd that read:
“In my own life and gymnastics career I encountered discrimination and prejudice. It didn’t stop me from reaching all of my goals, but it did play a role in preventing me from reaching some of my biggest goals.“
“As an icon and trailblazer in our sport, Dianne opened doors for generations of gymnast who came after her, and her legacy carries on each day in gyms across the country,” said USA Gymnastics CEO Li Li Leung in a statement.
Simone Biles, Dominique Dawes and Gabby Douglas are successors of Durham who was reported to have passed peacefully in a Chicago hospital with her spouse and sister at her side according to US NEWS.
Is she receiving late flowers?
BY: BEWITTY Staff