Alice Coachman, The First African-American Woman to Win Gold
Alice Coachman (November 9, 1923 – July 14, 2014 Albany Georgia) was the first African-American woman to win a gold in the Olympic Games in 1948 (high jump competition) and the only American woman to medal at all that year. She bested her opponent (the favorite to win) with only one jump. Because she was a woman and a person of color she was not allowed to use sports facilities and would train barefoot on dirt roads. She won 25 National titles before retiring at the age of 25. She stopped at the peak of her career as she had accomplished everything she wanted to achieve. When she arrived in England for the games she was shocked to discover she had many fans there due to the racism she experienced in the south in America. Upon retuning after the games she was given a party by Count Basie and met President Truman. But when she went home it was another story.
Coachman was treated almost as a nonperson on her homecoming to Albany, Ga., forced to use a side door of the auditorium where she was being honored. The mayor refused to shake her hand. She would receive gifts and flowers anonymously because people were afraid of the repercussions of being proud of a woman of color. She spent most of her life in education, speaking for youth programs and founded the Alice Coachman Foundation for helping former Olympic athletes with problems in their lives. Read more about this amazing and very humble human: Alice Coachman