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Alice Coachman: the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal

She took the high jump at the 1948 Olympics in London

3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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3:31 AMAlice Coachman was the first black woman to earn an Olympic gold medal, winning the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.

Born: Nov. 9, 1923

Died: July 14, 2014

Alice Coachman of Albany, Georgia, clears the bar at five feet to win the running high jump in women’s national track meet in Grand Rapids July 6, 1948.

AP Photo

Her story: Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia, and faced two barriers in training to become an athlete: She was black and she was a woman. She ran shoeless on dirt roads and used makeshift equipment to work on her jumping. She joined the high school track team before moving on to Tuskegee. She also competed in the Amateur Athletic Union, and by 1946 she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter dashes, 400-meter relay and high jump. She also enrolled at Albany State College in 1946 after graduating from Tuskegee with a degree in dressmaking. After World War II wiped out the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, Coachman finally got her chance to compete in 1948, high jumping an Olympic-record 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches to win the gold in London. She is in nine Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Fast fact: Coachman became the first African-American woman with an endorsement deal when the Coca-Cola Company signed her as a spokesperson in 1952.

Quotable: “I made a difference among the blacks, being one of the leaders,” Coachman told The New York Times in 1996. “If I had gone to the games and failed, there wouldn’t be anyone to follow in my footsteps.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.