On Feb. 19, 2002, Vonetta Flowers, competing in the first Olympic women’s bobsled event as the brakewoman for partner Jill Bakken, became the first Black athlete to win a gold medal in the Winter Games.
Check out the video above to see Flowers capture this historic title at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Flowers, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, was the first person in her family to attend college. She received a track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she was a sprinter and long jumper but hung up her spikes after failing to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Shortly after the 2000 Olympic Trials, Flowers transitioned to bobsled after discovering a flyer urging track and field athletes to try out. She quickly became one of the top brakewomen in the nation.
Flowers retired from competition after the 2006 Torino Winter Games, where she finished sixth with partner Jean Prahm.
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