1st Black Woman to Win Olympic Gold Dies

The first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal passed away Monday at the age of 90. Alice Coachman Davis took first place for the high jump at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Her performance set a record of 5-feet-6 1/8 inches. In 1952, she also became the first African American to win an endorsement deal after Coca Cola gave her a contract. Davis was born in Albany, Georgia on November 9, 1923. Growing up in the segregated South, Davis often had to train by running barefoot on dirt roads. At the age of 16, she began attending Tuskegee University. She qualified for the Olympics in 1940 and 1944, but wasn’t able to compete until 1948 due to World War II. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Davis was honored as one of the 100 greatest Olympians in history. “I paved the way for all of them,” she said.