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Alice Coachman: First Black Woman To Win Olympic Gold Medal Has Died

Wed, July 16, 2014 8:05am EDT by Add first Comment
Alice Coachman Dead
Jeff Zelevansky/Sport/Getty Images

So sad. Alice Coachman, the first ever black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, passed away on July 14 at the age of 90.

In 1948, Alice Coachman was the first black woman win a gold medal at the Olympics; she took home the gold for Team USA for the high jump while competing in London. A true inspiration, she passed away on July 14 at 90 years old in Georgia.

Alice Coachman Dead At 90 — First Black Woman To Win A Gold Medal At The Olympics

Alice’s daughter, Evelyn Jones, revealed that Alice had been in a nursing home following a recent stroke; after being transferred to a hospital for breathing difficulties, she suffered cardiac arrest and passed on July 14, according to the The New York Times.

“Alice literally set the bar with her accomplishments at the 1948 Games, but Olympic champion is only part the incredible legacy she leaves behind,” said United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun in a statement. “Alice Coachman Davis has inspired generations of athletes to be their best and she will be missed.”

Alice Coachman: ‘I Made A Difference Among The Blacks, Being One Of The Leaders’

When Alice became victorious at the 1948 Olympic Summer Games, she received her medal from King George VI and was invited aboard a British Royal yacht, according to The NY Times. Alice was also personally congratulated by President Harry S. Truman at the White House, but when she returned to her home in Albany, Georgia, it was to continued racial segregation.

“I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Alice told the The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder.”

Alice Coachman was a true inspiration and she will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends during this difficult time.

— Amanda Mitchell

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