This is the latest in a series of features on the 2010 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductees.
FAYETTEVILLE- Karen Gorham was the first female and second student-athlete in the history of Arkansas athletics to be named an All-American in four-consecutive seasons. She was a seven-time All-American in her career which spanned from 1980-83. Today, Gorham remains in the Razorback record books in four categories including the second best performance in the three-meter at a championship event. She adds to her honors this September with her induction into the University of Arkansas Razorback Sports Hall of Honor.
Gorham began her career with Arkansas’ swimming and diving program in 1980. The freshman placed second in the three-meter event at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Championships and was the only freshman to make it to finals. She earned a third-place finish in the one-meter competition. She was a National Junior Olympic champion in the one-meter and was sixth on the three-meter at the AAU Outdoor Championships, where she collected an automatic berth to the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials. Gorham was a gold medalist in 1979 at the World Age Group Diving Championships in Stuttgart, West Germany.
Her sophomore season in 1981 prove to be Gorham’s biggest year with the Razorbacks. She became the AIAW National Champion on the one-meter springboard, leading the competition from start to finish and scoring 425.80 points. She was named AIAW Diver of the Year after also finishing third on the three-meter springboard. Later that year, Gorham was invited and competed at the U.S. National Sports Festival in Syracuse, N.Y., which gathered the Olympic hopefuls for training and preparation for the 1984 Games.
During the 1982 season, Gorham gathered a sixth-place finish at the AIAW Championships in the on-meter. She was named to the United States International Diving Team in 1981 and competed with the team in 1982 at the USA-International Diving Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. At the event, she placed seventh in the three-meter, marking the highest finish by a collegiate competitor.
Gorham made a big showing as a senior when she swept the Southwest Conference Championship, earning titles in the one-meter and three-meter springboard events. She placed first on the one-meter and second on the three-meter at the NCAA Zone Diving Qualifying Championships and went on to place sixth in the three-meter at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America status and was seventh in the one-meter dive.
Also during her career as a Razorback, Gorham received a rare perfect score of 10 at the dual against Texas Christian with a one-and-a-half somersault with a double twist. She was featured in The Diver (May, 1982) and Nautilus Magazine (Jan, 1983).
UA Sports Hall of Honor members are selected by a vote of former letterwinners in conjunction with the "A" Club. The official induction is Friday, Sept. 3, at the Springdale Convention Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from the Razorback Foundation. For more information, call the Razorback Foundation at 479-443-9000.