On this day in Alabama history: Gold medalist born

On this day in Alabama history: Gold medalist born
Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers celebrate after leading after the first run in the women's 2-woman bobsled during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Oct. 29, 1973

On Oct. 29, 1973, Vonetta Jeffery was born in Birmingham. She became a track star at Jackson-Olin High School and won a track scholarship to UAB. She captained the Blazers team for four years, winning 35 conference championships and seven NCAA All-American honors. In 1996 and 2000, she qualified for the Summer Olympic Trials but failed to earn a spot on the U.S. team. She married fellow track star Johnny Mack Flowers, who encouraged her to try out for the U.S. two-woman bobsled team. With driver Jill Bakken and brakeman Flowers, the U.S. won the event at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City for the first time in 46 years. Flowers became the first black woman to medal in the Winter Olympics.

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