International Athletics

US Olympic track legend dies

2014-07-15 20:45
Olympics (File)

Washington - Former US athlete Alice Coachman Davis, the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, has died. She was 90.

Davis, an American track and field star who took the top spot in women's high jump at the 1948 London Olympics -- passed away Monday in the southern US state of Georgia after a recent stroke, her daughter told the The New York Times.

A Georgia native who experienced racial segregation firsthand, Davis was inducted into both the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame and the US Olympic Hall of Fame.

She won 10 consecutive US outdoor high jump titles from 1939-1948, the first coming at only age 16 and captured 25 national crowns overall.

Also a sprint star, Davis captured the American outdoor 50m crown from 1943-1947, the US outdoor 100m title in 1942, 1945 and 1946 and the US 50m indoor titles in 1945 and 1946.

At the 1948 Olympics, where King George VI presented her with her medal, Davis set both an Olympic and American high jump record by clearing 1.68 meters.

"Alice literally set the bar with her accomplishments at the 1948 Games, but Olympic champion is only part of the incredible legacy she leaves behind," Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the US Olympic Committee, said in a statement.

"Alice Coachman Davis has inspired generation of athletes to be their best and she will be missed."

Davis was aware of her role as a pioneer and role model for other black women athletes, telling The Times in 1996: "If I had gone to the Games and failed, there wouldn't be anyone to follow in my footsteps."

After retiring from competitive sports, she went on to become a coach and schoolteacher.

Read more on:    athletics


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Barnes to ref Boks, Wales clash
Wallabies 'defend like dogs'
Loubscher expecting 'direct' Wales
Carter desperate to reach RWC final
Love 2 Meet

Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.