Franklin and Ivanhoe Schools

Sport: Gymnastics

Dianne Patrice Durham Drahozal was a gymnast born in Gary, Indiana where she attended both Franklin and Ivanhoe schools before relocating to Texas. She began her gymnastics career at the age of four and received her early training under Wanda Tommasi-Mohoi in Merrillville, Indiana. At nine years old, she was featured in an Ebony Jr. magazine in an article titled “Look Out For These Shining Stars”. On her first gymnastics team, the Hoosierettes, her coaches described her as “Olympic material”. At 11, she attempted to retire from gymnastics in a letter to her parents. However, she remained in the sport and later became the youngest member of the Károlyi’s team at age 14. In 1983, she won the all-around senior title at the women's US National Championships, becoming the first African American athlete to do so. She was Béla and Márta Károlyi's first elite athlete in the United States, helping establish their coaching credentials outside of the state-sponsored program of their native Romania. She trained with Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton, who called Durham her "best competition". After injuries and competition stipulations prevented her from competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics, Durham retired from competition in 1985. She later ran the Skyline Gymnastics school in Chicago, but even in death continues to be a role model and inspiration to young gymnasts.