Biography: DIMAS, Trent

DIMAS, Trent

Inducted: 2002 Born: November 10, 1970 Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

The day after winning the 1992 Olympic Gold Medal on the HB in Barcelona, Trent Dimas found himself sprinting down a street in Barcelona, late for a Today Show interview. Around his neck hung the symbol of being the best HB performer in the world on August 2, 1992. Without warning, the ribbon that held the medal snapped and was flung to the ground. Trent picked it up only to find it was dented and scratched. Now, when he thinks about having it repaired or refinished, he always hesitates. He knows that even the imperfections in the gold medal are great reminders of the most incredible 16 days of his life.  Trent Dimas’ win in Barcelona was very special.

Olympic Games: Gold-HB, Barcelona, Spain, (1992). Trent’s victory was the first gold medal awarded a U.S. Olympic gymnast, male or female, in a non-boycotted Olympics in sixty years and the only gold medal awarded an American gymnast in Barcelona plus the only U.S. gold medal won by an American gymnast on foreign soil since WWII. Trent Dimas was a dark horse to win gold in Barcelona. The unified Russian team had won team gold, with Vitaly Scherbo dominating the competition sweeping four events, the AA, and Team Gold for a total of six medals. Scherbo did not, however, qualify for the HB finals. Dimas did. The HB had always been his strongest event, and he had been perfecting his routine for five years. The word on the floor was that Dimas’ compulsory performance had been underscored, so it took his lifetime best optional routine to win the gold. In Barcelona the compulsory and optional routines were still added making it very difficult to overcome a problem with an underscored compulsory. Watching Dimas’ winning routine was spectacular. Even to someone who knows little about gymnastics, it was clearly an almost perfect performance. His triple-somersault dismount landed perfectly which wasn’t always the case, and his facial expression made it clear that he couldn’t believe he had done it. Trent dedicated his gold medal to his late father, Ted Dimas, Sr. NCAA National Championships: Gold-Team, University of Nebraska, Silver-FX & HB, Coached during his one year at the U. of Mebraska by Hall of Fame Honorees-Francis Allen and Jim Howard, (1990); Achieved distinction of being named an All American two times for his performances. After the U. of Nebraska won gold, Trent left the school to specifically train for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with Ed Burch, a Hall of Fame Honoree. Burch had coached Trent prior to his enrollment at the U. of Nebraska. He was with Trent on the floor in Barcelona and celebrated Trent’s win with both jumping up and down while embracing all on TV. Trent’s decision to drop from school and continue his training with Burch for the Olympic Games was a successful decision. U. S. A. National Championships: Gold-PB & HB, (1990); Gold-V, (1991). World Championships: Team member, Paris, France, (1992). Pan American Games. Silver-Team, Bronze-FX, Havana, Cuba, (1991). McDonald’s American Cup: Gold-AA, V, & HB, (1991); Gold-HB, (1992). Dimas was a strong international competitor winning three times more international medals than national medals. General: Trent and his brother, Tim, were educated at home until the seventh grade, but he began his gymnastics career in 1975 at age five. Trent and his brother, Ted, competed in karate, soccer, and gymnastics teams in the afternoon. Eventually, the time to choose one sport arrived and gymnastics it was. He became a member of the U.S. Junior National Team for three years and a member of the Senior National Team for eight years. His career highlights also include participating in the  Goodwill Games. Trent was the first junior gymnast to medal in the men’s Senior National Championships. Post Olympics: After Barcelona, Trent retired from competition and worked briefly as a gymnastics coach at the University of Arizona and basked for a time in the glory of his victory, acting as a spokesperson for his corporate sponsors. He also served as an assistant women’s gymnastics coach at Yale University for one year under Barbara Tonry, but he discovered that coaching was not a career path for him. He worked charity events, making some public appearances for causes he believes in like the Starlight Children’s Foundation and trained as time allowed. He tried out for the 1996 Olympic Team knowing he had not trained to improve some of the AA events, and his body was not up to the task. He tried out just, “ . . . for the love of it.” It soon became apparent that his chances of making the team were poor, and he gracefully withdrew from the competition. Trent Dimas also was one of the first to talk about the life of an amateur competitor when he or she exits the athletic arena. “ . . . The Olympic Games are like no other event, but when you (finish competition) and people still know you as an athlete, there’s often a negative stigma (the athletes are not academicians syndrome) that comes with it. I think that’s a shame.  A lot of athletes give a better part of their lives to their sport and whether personal or patriotic, in the end we have to make up time lost in the so called real world.” Dimas moved to New York from Colorado and applied to Columbia’s School of General Studies. “He was convinced the University was out of his reach, a common feeling among students who have interrupted their education to pursue another passion,” said Peter Awn, Dean of General Studies at Columbia. “But in fact” said Awn, “the strength of General Studies is that it recognizes that there is no single ‘real world’,” suggesting there are many “real worlds”, and one must strive to find that world that is most fitting to an individual.  Dimas, despite his internal concerns, remember he was home schooled for six years, enrolled and earned a degree in General Studies at Columbia University. He attributes his success to his Christian faith. Trent is currently living in Spain with his wife. Family: m. Lisa Harris.

Sources: Many thanks to Jerry Wright, author of Who’s Who in Gymnastics, 2005, who supplied photos and the text of Dimas’ personal letters and notes. Special thanks to Abie Grossfeld, 1979 HOF Honoree, and Bruce Davis for their insights and comments. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.