Alice Coachman, the First Black Woman to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman was a trailblazer for Black women in the world of sports. In 1948, she became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She broke through barriers and managed to succeed in a time where the world didn’t want to see a black woman in sports.

According to The Undefeated, Coachman would train outside of her school by running ‘shoeless on dirt roads and’ using ‘makeshift equipment to work on her jumping.’ She was inspired to compete as she went on to become “the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump” in 1946.

Coachman faced opposition and continued through this path until the time finally came where she high jumped “an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London.” The same article adds that Alice Coachman is now “in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.”