Remembering Alice Coachman
|Alice Coachman @ 1948 London Olympic Games
"I made a difference among blacks, being one of the leaders. If I had gone to the games and failed, there would not be anyone to follow in my footsteps. It encouraged the rest of the women to work harder and fight harder." Alice Coachman New York Times 1996
Alice Marie Coachman was an important figure in the sports world, she passed away this week on July 14, 2014 at the age of 90. She was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She dominated Track & Field she specialized in high jump. In high school I was on the track and competed in high jump it was challenging yet fun. I just recently found who she was in college. Alice Coachman was born and raised in Albany, GA ( Georgia).
She was the daughter of Fred and Evelyn Coachman together they had 1o children. As a young girl she often ran track and played softball with the boys. Her father did not appreciate her tomboy behavior sometimes she was whipped for her sports participation.
For a brief moment she wanted to quit playing sports, encouragement from her fifth grade teacher restored her interest in sports. She honed her skills in track & field by running up and down red roads and dirt roads. To prepare for high jump she jumped barefoot, using ropes, and sticks for makeshift jumps.
Alice gained an opportunity to compete for Tuskegee University's high school and college teams she later attended Albany State University. She captured the Amateur Athletic Union high jump championship 10 consecutive times, from 1939 to 1948, and the union’s 50-meter outdoor title from 1943 to 1947. She also won national championships in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. Her career in Track and Field ended after the 1948 Olympics she was 24 at the time. She got married, raised a family and became an educator for elementary and high school students. Alice also created the Alice Coachman Track and Field foundation to assist young athletes and former competitors that needed finances.
Alice is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great grand children. Before Wilma Rudolph or Florence Griffith Joyner aka Flo Jo there was Alice Coachman. Rest in peace
Source: The New York Times
Author: Richard Goldstein