In 1948, Alice Coachman became the first African American to win a gold medal in the Olympics. It had been a long and difficult road to success. Alice was born in 1923 in Albany, Georgia. She was one of ten children and had a difficult childhood. She struggled to develop her athletic ability as a young lady, as there was opposition to women in sports during this time period. She would practice for hours, determined to improve herself and become successful.
Even though Alice’s parents discouraged her interest in sports, Alice was determined to become an athlete. She was encouraged in this pursuit by her Aunt, who stood up for her and helped her overcome opposition to fulfill her dream. Alice’s story is an inspiration to many and her success inspired many young women to follow in her footsteps.
Alice earned her medal in the high jump competition and was the only female American athlete to win a medal of any kind at the London Olympics that year. Coachman had dominated the high jump championship from 1939 through 1948, but was unable to compete in the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games as they were canceled because of World War II.