In Memoriam: Alice Marie Coachman Davis, 1923-2014

coachman_aliceAlice Coachman Davis, a standout track star at Tuskegee University in Alabama and the first African American woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, died on July 14 in Albany, Georgia, after suffering cardiac arrest. She was 90 years old.

A native of Albany, Georgia, Davis won the Amateur Athletic Union’s national high jump championship for 10 consecutive years. Also an accomplished sprinter, she won 25 national championships in track and field. Davis also was on the Tuskegee basketball team that won three consecutive conference championships.

Davis would have undoubtedly competed for the United States in the Olympics in 1940 and 1944 but the games were cancelled in those years due to World War II. She finally got her chance in 1948 and cleared a height of five feet, six and one-eighth inches to capture the gold medal, which was presented to her by King George VI. She was the only American woman to win a gold medal at the 1948 Olympic Games.




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