Remembering Alice Coachman, Olympian

photograph by xxx

Photograph by Damon Winter

Alice Coachman was the first African American woman to win a gold medal, a feat she accomplished in the high jump in London in 1948.  She died in 2012.  In the New York Times photograph above she is dressed in exercise gear, but other photos show that she that had a great style in street clothes.


Coachman grew up in segregated Georgia and was prohibited from using public sports facilities.  Recognized early for her athletic abilities in track and field, she got training at historically black schools—first at the Tuskegee Institute High School and then at Albany State University. In 1948, she was the only American woman to win a gold medal.

Alice Coachman did not continue her career in track and field.  Instead, she became a high school teacher and raised a family.  She also started a foundation to help young athletes dreaming of Olympic careers.  That’s a life well lived, I’d say.

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5 Responses to Remembering Alice Coachman, Olympian

  1. Rhoda K says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. It’s sad that we don’t hear more about women like her.

  2. eimear says:

    she has a lovely smile. its crazy to read of barriers that women had to face in sport, and she had to face segration as well. An Irish runner in the 50s (Maeve Kyle) was called a disgrace to motherhood (and people used write letters to the paper about her) as she chose to travel to compete in the olympics as a married woman with children! She kindly commented that she thought athletes are under more pressure nowadays, as its all about the winning – not just partaking

  3. Carol in Denver says:

    What an inspiring woman! I love to read stories of people who overcome difficulties.

  4. Fabrickated says:

    What an uplifting read. Thank you Lynn.

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