Jul 14, 2014, 6:16 PM EST
Alice Coachman, the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, died at age 90 in Albany, Ga., on Monday morning.
Coachman, the 1948 Olympic high jump champion, suffered a stroke in April and died at an Albany hospital, according to Albany’s NBC affiliate.
Coachman won the first of her 10 straight national titles at age 16 in 1939, according to USA Track and Field, but missed the 1940 and 1944 Olympics due to World War II.
“In 1944, I was really ready,” Coachman told The Associated Press in 1996. “I had won the 50-yard dash in the national AAU six consecutive years and the 200 two years straight. I was right at my peak in 1944. I could have won at least two gold medals there.”
Her only Olympic appearance came in London in 1948, when she won gold with an Olympic record jump of 5 feet, 6 1/4 inches before the Fosbury Flop was introduced. King George VI presented the gold medal to her. She made it to and from London by ship.
“Many times I’ve been to places where I’ll tell them I was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy,” Coachman told the AP. “They’ll say, ‘You won it? No, you didn’t win it. It was that other girl who won it.’”
Coachman referred to Wilma Rudolph, who won triple sprint gold at the Rome 1960 Olympics.
Coachman, one of 10 children, grew up in Georgia during segregation and broke high school and college high jump records without wearing shoes, according to the AP. Her lucky charms were lemons. She sucked on them in competitions when her mouth ran dry.
She returned home from the London Olympics to a segregated victory ceremony, with blacks and whites on separate sides of the building. The white mayor would not shake her hand.
In 1952, Coca-Cola made her the first black female athlete to endorse an international product. She said she made $500.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:11 AM EST
Olympic champion Shields was named the tournament’s best overall boxer.
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Tikhonov led the Soviets in the Miracle on Ice game.
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Sun tested positive for a substance he could have used legally if he filed paperwork with anti-doping officials.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:27 PM EST
Public vote to name the mascots.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:38 PM EST
Video of how he suffered the injury was posted on Ligety’s social media.
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It’s unlikely a U.S. man will qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
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“i just don’t want to puke,” Wagner said.
Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
This year’s winners came from unprecedented nations and events.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EST
Wagner could match a Michelle Kwan feat at the French event.
Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
“Unbroken” film about Olympian and World War II hero comes out on Christmas.
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Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.
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Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.
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Vito thought he had what it took to make the Olympic team, but judges didn’t see it the same way.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Olympic champion could face the only woman who beat her in the quarterfinals.
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“I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”
Nov 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EST
Her name could be “erased from the list of participants,” IOC president said.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM EST
Eight stadium events will have morning finals, a first for Olympic track and field since 1988.
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The IOC will vote on 40 proposed changes to the Olympics in December.
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Also, Natalie Coughlin said she reached out to Phelps.
Nov 18, 2014, 3:52 PM EST
Four years ago, Michael Phelps’ coach said Lochte was the world’s best swimmer.
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