Hall of Fame gymnast will be honored tomorrow with the Annual Dianne Durham Humanitarian Award & Presentation at 2023 NCAA Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships. (Wendy Hilliard Foundation photo)

Wendy Hilliard, Hall of Fame gymnast and founder and CEO of the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, will be honored tomorrow with the Annual Dianne Durham Humanitarian Award & Presentation on the eve of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas.

The award is in remembrance of Dianne Durham, a pioneering athlete who in 1983 became the first Black gymnast to win the USA all-around title at the senior national championship. Born in Gary, Indiana, in 1968, Durham passed away at the age of 52 in Chicago in February 2021 after a short illness.

A native of Detroit, Hilliard was the first Black rhythmic gymnast to represent the U.S. globally. She was a two-time Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team captain, competed in three World Championships, and was a four-time U.S. National Team coach. In 1995, Hilliard became the first Black president of the Women’s Sports Foundation. She also served as the Director of Sports for New York City’s 2012 Olympic Bid, the Executive Committee of USA Gymnastics for over 10 years, and was an Olympic broadcaster for NBC. In 2008, she was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

She established the Wendy Hilliard Foundation in New York City in 1996. Now based in Harlem and Detroit, the organization provides free and low-cost gymnastics classes for girls and boys ages 18 months and older, as well as to adults in the disciplines of rhythmic, artistic, tumbling, and trampoline gymnastics.

The WHGF’s mission is to improve the physical and emotional health of young people through the sport and has served over 25,000 youth in its 25 years, many from the expansive Harlem community. 

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  1. Words cannot express the value of Wendy and her Foundation to the development of young people mentally and physically through gymnastics.The world is a better place for these young people because of WHF.Wendy is forever a champion!

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