Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman, first black woman to win Olympic gold, passes away

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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.

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High school volleyball save amazes Kerri Walsh Jennings (video)

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Adjectives, take your pick. Triple Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings went with “rad.”

Autumn Finney, a Decatur (Texas) High School senior outside hitter, turned in a viral save by leaping over a teammate, her back to the net, and stabbing the ball more than 30 feet to get it to the other side.

Decatur later won the point.

Walsh Jennings may be known for her beach prowess, but she made her first Olympic team on the indoor courts in Sydney in 2000.

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Decker scores twice, U.S. women’s hockey team beats Canada 5-2

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QUEBEC CITY (AP) — Brianna Decker scored twice to help the U.S. women’s hockey team open its pre-Olympic exhibition schedule with a 5-2 victory over Canada on Sunday.

Hilary Knight, Annie Pankowski and Alex Carpenter also scored for the Americans.

Meghan Agosta and Jillian Saulnier scored for Canada.

The teams will meet again Wednesday night in Boston. Canada has won four straight Olympic titles, and the U.S. has claimed seven of the last eight world championships.