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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, May 3, 2004, 1:00 pm ET

    Young Ukrainian American gymnast has the competitive edge

    © S.Kurowyckyj

    Dianna Kurowyckyj, native New Yorker of Ukrainian descent, placed first all around at the New York Sate Gymnastics Level 8 Championships in April 2004.


    Dianna poses with a few of her recent trophies
    (l-r) Dianna, mom Ezya, 'Gym Dad' Slavko, and big brother Yurij.
    At age 5, Dianna modeled for the Sutton Gym brochure
    Dianna is in the blue jersey on the right in this promotional brochure for the Chelsea Piers Gym

    Ukrainians and other East Europeans may be known for their prowess in gymnastics (Ukraine's Alina Kozich took the European Champion this past weekend, and Irina Krasnynska of the Ukraine finished in third place on the uneven bars), but you needn't look further than our own Manhattan backyard for up and coming local talent. Dianna Kurowyckyj, native New Yorker of Ukrainian descent, has been rising steadily through the ranks of serious gymnasts and last month she placed first all around at the New York Sate Gymnastics Level 8 Championships. Dianna placed 1st on vault, 2nd on balance beam and 2nd on the uneven bars.

    Dianna started her gymnastics career at age 5 because her mother, Ezya, "needed to tire her out" a bit. "All that Dianna wanted to do was jump, tumble and climb everything," says mom. Dianna was signed up for weekly classes at Sutton Gymnastics and that's where her love of the sport developed. At age 7 she was invited to join the "Hot Tots," which is a pre-team program for young children showing a potential for gymnastics. At age 8 she became a Level 4 Team Member at Sutton. As a team member she had the opportunity to compete against other gyms and to develop her skills. The following year, at Level 5, Dianna became the #2 NY State Beam Champion.

    By the time she turned 11, Dianna was a Level 7 gymnast and already making a name for herself on the competitive scene. When Sutton closed unexpectedly last year, she was accepted into the gymnastics program at Chelsea Piers. With the help of a "fantastic" Elite Team coach and his assistant, Dianna's skills have grown and she has developed into a serious, competitive gymnast.

    This past year has been a banner year for Dianna. She finished every local competition either in the top 7 or first all around. Her scores were good enough to qualify for the New York State gymnastics competition that was held last weekend in Utica, NY. Needless to say, the girls that competed were "only the best" from the whole of New York State. Dianna's success in Utica positioned her in the New York State Team and now she is preparing to compete on May 8-9 in Boston in the Regional Event.

    In addition to the 26 (yes, that's twenty-six) hours a week that she spends at the gym, Dianna excels in a talented and gifted program at school. As if that weren't enough, she is a member of the Ukrainian scout group "Plast" and enjoys barefoot water-skiing in her, um, "spare" time. Dianna can also add modeling to her list of accomplishments - her photographs have been used to promote the gymnastics program at Sutton and they can be seen in the current brochure for Chelsea Piers.

    Does she get nervous before a competition? "No!" says Dianna with a slight look of surprise. Competing is simply a natural extension of the weekly workouts for this bright-eyed athlete. Dianna, unlike the rest of us, takes it all in stride and remains unimpressed by her talent and success.



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