Alice Coachman is known as the first woman of color to win a gold medal at the 1948 Olympic games, a time that was especially tough for Black athletes.
She was born in Albany, Georgia in 1923 where segregation was very heavy and thus she was denied many opportunities to train or compete in sports events. Alice trained herself growing up and by age 25 she competed in the 1948 Olympics in London, where she then became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal after setting a record in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches.
“I didn’t know I’d won,” Coachman later said. “I was on my way to receive the medal and I saw my name on the board. And, of course, I glanced over into the stands where my coach was, and she was clapping her hands.”
King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth awarded her. Since her honor she has been inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. She passed away at age 90 on July 14th, 2014 at her home in Georgia.