Holum, Dianne (1951—)

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Holum, Dianne (1951—)

American speedskater. Born on May 19, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois; married; children: daughter Kirstin Holum (a speedskater).

Selected championships and honors:

won a silver medal (three-way tie) in the 500 meters and a bronze medal in the 1,000 meters at the Olympic Games in Grenoble (1968); won a gold medal in the 1,000 meters at the World championships (1971); won a gold medal in the 500 meters at the World championships (1972); won a gold medal in the 1,500 meters and a silver medal in the 3,000 meters at the Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan (1972).

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1951, Dianne Holum was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in speedskating's 1,500-meter event. She trained in Northbrook, Illinois, the "Speedskating Capital of America," under coach Big Ed Rudolph, who also trained championship sprinter Anne Henning . At age 14, Holum became the youngest skater ever to compete in the World championships. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, she was involved in a rare three-way tie with Americans Jennifer Fish and Mary Meyers for the silver medal in the 500 meters (Ludmila Titova of the Soviet Union placed first); then Holum went on to capture the bronze in the 1,000 meters. (Monika Pflug of Germany won the gold; Atje Keulen-Deelstra of Holland took the silver.)

Before the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, Holum worked as a waitress for a year to finance a training period in the Netherlands. Her determination was rewarded with an Olympic gold medal in the 1,500 meters, which she won in 2:20.83, breaking the mark of 2:22.40 set by Kaija Mustonen of Finland in 1968. (Holland's Christina Baas-Kaiser and Atje Keulen-Deelstra placed second and third, respectively.) Holum also walked away with the silver medal in the 3,000-meter event with a time of 4:58.67. Baas-Kaiser won the gold with a time of 4:52.14, an Olympic record.

Holum, who has been credited with revitalizing women's speedskating in America, retired from competition in 1973 to coach. World champion Beth Heiden was her student, as well as Holum's own daughter, Kirstin Holum , who at age 16 was America's best speedskating hope for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Kirstin failed to medal in the games, though she set an American record in the Olympic longtrack 5,000 meters, completing the course in 7:14.20. In 1996, Dianne Holum was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1997, she and Pat Wentland were named by the U.S. Speedskating Association and recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as National and Developmental Coaches of the Year for their sport.


Leavy, Jane. "A Rare Pair," in Sports Illustrated: Women Sport. Spring 1997, p. 49.

Markel, Robert and Susan Waggoner. The Women's Sports Encyclopedia. NY: Henry Holt, 1997.

"Nagano '98," in The Boston Globe. February 12, 1998.

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Holum, Dianne (1951—)

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