During the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win a gold medal, when she won the high jump competition. She was the only female American athlete to win a medal of any kind during these Olympics.
Growing up in Albany, Georgia, Coachman was 1 of 10 children. She was raised in the segregated South where she was often denied the chance to train for or compete in sports events. This didn’t hold her back, the soon-to-be track star practiced running barefoot on dirt roads and jumping over makeshift hurdles. At age 16, she broke high school and college records in the Amateur Athlete Union National Championship’s track and field competition.
Throughout her athletic career, she won 34 national titles—10 of which were in the high jump. She was officially inducted into the National Track-and-Field Hall of Fame in 1975 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004.
In honor of Black History Month and the Official start of the Olympics, we recognize Alice Coachman for her incredible drive and inspiring athletic achievements. She Made History!