Biography: SIMPSON, Diane

Inducted: 2004
Born: Evanston, Illinois

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Diane Simpson is listed as a 2004 GHOF Inductee, but her name does not appear in the alpha list.  After absolutely inhaling her outstanding accomplishments through only seven years of national and international competition, it is time for her exploits as a rhythmic gymnast representing the United States to come forward. She is a shining light when it comes to modesty and quiet understatement and very knowledgeable about the nuances of her sport. It was my pleasure to meet her, take her photo, and continue to communicate with her. She is beauty in motion and has the medals to prove it.

Introduction to Rhythmic Gymnastics: For the last few decades, changes in the way international competitions in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics are conducted and champions have been crowned have gone through numerous changes. This is a synopsis of the way rhythmic gymnastics was conducted during Simpson’s competitive years. It is included for the benefit of those, such as I, who are unfamiliar with the rhythmic element of gymnastics. (1) In order for a country’s rhythmic gymnasts to compete in the Olympic Games, the country must first qualify. (2) A country qualifies by virtue of outstanding performance by its rhythmic team in World Championship competitions. (3) Only two women rhythmic gymnasts compete in the Olympic Games and only after their country has qualified. (4) By virtue of Diane Simpson’s et al. performances in the World Championships, the USA became eligible to send rhythmic gymnasts to the Olympics in 1988 and 1992. (5) Olympic Rhythmic Trials were conducted in the U.S. after the USA was declared eligible for the ’88 & ’92 Games. Michele Berube and Diane Simpson were the top rhythmic athletes in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Irina Vdovets was their official Head Coach. Olympic Games: Diane Simpson won the qualification trials to become a competing member of the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastic Team, Seoul, Korea, (1988). Although Simpson helped qualify the U.S. to compete in the next Olympics, she broke her ankle in three places before the Olympic Trials in the USA; nevertheless, she showed great courage by amazingly placing fourth, but with only two competitors allowed, she did not compete in the 1992 Olympics. In 1992, Tamara Levinson and Jennifer Lovell were America’s two representatives in Barcelona, Spain. World Rhythmic Gymnastic Championships: Team member, Valladolid, Spain, (1985); Team member, Varna, Bulgaria, (1987); Team member and finalist, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, (1989); Team member, Athens, Greece, (1991). Pan American Games: Gold-Rope & Ribbon, Silver-AA & Hoop, Indianapolis, Indiana-USA, (1987); Bronze-Team, Havana, Cuba, (1991). Goodwill  Games: U.S. Team member and finalist, (1986 & ’90). Corbeil-Essones Tournament: Simpson was a finalist multiple times in numerous years in this prestigious competition. U.S. National Championships: Gold-AA and winner of all four individual events, (1988). Four Continents Competitions: Diane Simpson won medals in this competition competing in Melbourne, Australia, (1986), Toronto, Canada, (1988), and Tokyo, Japan, (1990). Rhythmic Judge: “Simpson is an accredited national level judge for USA Gymnastics with more than 13 years experience,” according to her bio on the USAG web site.  Honors: Named Miss Moscow News, (1988) and “Most Artistic Gymnast” at the Moscow, USSR and Louvain LaNeuve, Belgium competitions, respectively. Diane Simpson represented the U.S. in more than 30 international competitions. Judge: Simpson is an accredited national level judge for USA Gymnastics, the National Governing Body (NGB) for gymnastics in the U.S. and has served for over a decade judging local, regional, and national gymnastics competitions. She also serves as a member of the USAG Grievance Committee. General:  Diane is a past announcer for the Junior Olympics and worked as an NBC expert for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics as well as trampoline during the Olympic Games, Sydney, Australia, (2000). She also served as a color commentator for Turner Sports at the Goodwill Games, New York, (1988). Like many “retired” gymnasts, Simpson also participated in the world of entertainment participating in the Baha Men’s Best Years of Our Lives” music video as a dancer and a gymnast.  Currently (2007) Diane is working on getting the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games to Chicago in 2016. Family: (m) H. Hollister Bundy IV. Children: A daughter, Alexis, now (2007) an 8 year-old budding gymnast, piano player, and soccer athlete, and Jonathan, a “running” toddler.

Sources: Interview and correspondence with Ms. Simpson-Bundy who courteously provided the action photo, vetted the drafts, and tried her best to instruct this writer in the nuances and multiple changes in the world of rhythmic gymnastics. Portrait photo by Dr. Larry Banner with data assist from Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005. Watch for Jerry’s 2010 edition with numerous updates and additional biographies. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.

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