On this day in Alabama history: Olympic star died

On this day in Alabama history: Olympic star died
Track and field contestant Alice Coachman is seen during a medal ceremony of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London in which she won the gold in the high jump. She was the first African American woman to achieve such a feat. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame)

July 14, 2014

Olympic Hall of Fame member Alice Coachman died on July 14, 2014, in her hometown of Albany, Georgia. She moved to Tuskegee at the age of 16, where she began a lifetime of track and field success. She won 10 consecutive national high jump championships, and 25 indoor and outdoor 50- and 100-meter national championships. She was a mainstay on Tuskegee Institute’s team that won 11 AAU titles between 1937 and 1948. The Olympics were canceled in 1940 and 1944, but despite being past her prime, Coachman set an Olympic record in the high jump during the 1948 London Olympics, marking the first gold medal for any black woman. She taught and coached for the next 35 years and was a torchbearer for the Atlanta Games in 1996. She was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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