FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When it comes to naming the top female athlete in Fort Wayne’s history, De Dee Nathan’s name is certainly in the conversation.
Nathan burst onto the scene at South Side High School as a track and field standout, helping the Archers win the IHSAA team state title as a junior and senior in 1985 & ’86 under coach Roberta Widmann-Foust.
After South Side, Nathan matriculated to Bloomington where she won a total of six Big Ten championships in various events and was the 1990 runner-up in the pentathlon at the NCAA championships.
The I.U. grad finished fourth in the heptathlon at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials, just missing out on making the Olympic team. She finished fourth again in 1996, but broke through at the age of 32 winning the heptathlon at the trials in 2000, earning a trip to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Nathan finished ninth at the Olympics, with Denise Lewis of Great Britain earning the gold medal. By participating in the games, Nathan became the first female track & field Olympian in I.U. history. She was later inducted into the university’s sports hall of fame.
In addition to the Olympics, Nathan had a productive career on the international level. She won gold in the heptathlon at the 1991 Pan American Games, then took the bronze at the Pan Am games four years later.
Nathan also won the gold in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan in 1999.