Katura DivingKatura Horton-Perinchief made history without realising it. In 2004 she became the first black woman, in the world, to compete in the Olympics as a diver.

She had a humble start in the sport at the age of seven in Canada, but it wasn’t her only focus.

“I ended up doing figure skating, gymnastics, diving and swimming,” she told Bernews.

“I was always good at things like gymnastics. As long as it wasn’t a ball sport I was good [at it].  As a kid, I did, as most Bermudian kids did, jumped off of boats and bridges.

“I was doing both diving and gymnastics for a long time, but I quit gymnastics when I was 13 because both diving and gymnastics wanted me full-time, so I had to make a decision.”

When she went off to the University of Texas after high school, it was because of her book smarts rather than her diving talents.

Image by: Bernews


“I wanted to go to Texas more than I needed the money [from a scholarship] so I struck a deal with my coach that if I could make conference championships my first year at Texas he would fund me and that’s what happened. By the time I finished Texas, I was second in the Conference.”

She said the Olympics were “everything she thought it would be but it was also a very high-pressure situation.”

Katura didn’t realise she was making history as the first black female diver at the Athens’ Games. “I didn’t know that before I got the Olympics until somebody told me.“

She said it was a blessing growing up in Canada rather than the United States because it wasn’t an issue for people to make a big deal out of her race.

“Obviously I was the only one around who looked like me, but I didn’t feel like an anomaly like I did when I went to the States.”

When she was asked by people if she would compete in the Olympics again, Katura replied, “That’s a no, a big no.’ It took a lot out of me. It was a lot of sacrifice and dedication.”

Before the 2004 Games, Katura had represented Bermuda in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the 2003 World Championships, the 2003 Pan Am Games and 2004 World Cup. Additionally, she would compete in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Just because her competitive diving days are behind her, doesn’t mean Katura is done with the sport. In 2014, she started the Star Diving Summer Camp.

Read more of the Bernews article here