Nineteen-year-old Hilary Grivich, a member of the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships Silver Medal Team, was killed in a car accident on Sunday, May 4, in Houston, Texas.
According to the Houston Chronicle, “Houston police said one of the wheels on Grivich’s 1993 Nissan Altima struck a concrete barrier in a southbound lane of the 2000 block of North Freeway about 6:15 a.m. Her car spun out of control and flipped several times crushing the roof with the gymnast still strapped inside. She was alone in the car and was dead at the scene.”
Grivich, coached by Bela and Martha Karolyi, was the 1990 U.S. Junior National Champion and finished eighth all-around at the 1992 Olympic Trials, just missing a spot on the Olympic Team. She tied for third all-around at the 1991 USA vs. Romania dual competition and took second all-around at the 1990 Cup of Athens.
Former teammate Kerri Strug, and 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, said, “Hilary was a great friend and had the best attitude of any athlete I’ve ever been around. When all the hard work and competition would get to us, Hilary always was the one making jokes and putting everything in perspective. Things like this shouldn’t ever happen. I’m in shock. She was such a great person. She was one of the best people I’ve ever known.”
1991 World Champion Kim Zmeskal and Hilary got their first apartment together in the summer of 1996. “We’ve shared many things in the last 15 years and it’s devastating news. It’s hard to summarize everything I’m thinking right now.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, Hilary earned a diving scholarship at the University of Houston and was awarded the team’s outstanding diver at the school’s annual All-Sports Awards banquet on Wednesday night.
“Hilary was a model student-athlete at the University of Houston,” said UH interim athletic director Bill McGillis. “She was an extraordinary young lady whose vibrance and competitive spirit will be dearly missed by our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Our prayers and condolences go out to the Grivich family.”
Grivich, who finished fifth in the three-meter springboard event and sixth in the one-meter springboard event at the NCAA zone championships in March, hoped to someday make the U.S. Olympic Team as a diver.
Grivich would have turned 20 on May 23, 1997. She is survived by her parents Peter and Helen Grivich and her younger brother, Alex.
Funeral arrangements are planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the Settegast-Kopf Funeral Chapel, 3320 Kirby Dr., Houston, TX 77098.