Women's History Month Spotlight: Alice Coachman Davis - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Women's History Month Spotlight: Alice Coachman Davis

(Source: WALB file photo) (Source: WALB file photo)
(KFVS) -

March is Women’s History Month, and in the spotlight for March 11, 2016 is groundbreaking Olympian Alice Coachman Davis.

Coachman made history at the 1948 Olympics in London when she became the first African American woman to win Olympic gold. She leaped to a record-breaking height of 5 feet, 6 and 1/8 inch in the high jump finals to win the gold medal.

The track and field star was born in Albany, GA in 1923, the fifth of ten children in the Coachman family.

According to Biography.com she often ran barefoot on dirt roads because of segregation, and trained with the boys’ track coach at her high school.

Davis attended Tuskegee University at 16-years-old.

While in college she specialized in the high jump, and running both the indoor and outdoor 50-meter dash.

Davis qualified for the Olympics in 1940 and 1944, but because of World War II she couldn’t compete.

In 1948 she qualified again for the Olympic games, winning a gold medal for record high jump as the only U.S. woman to win gold that year.

Davis made history again in 1952, becoming the first black woman to get an endorsement deal when she signed a contract with Coca-Cola.

She was inducted into nine different hall of fames, including the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Alice Coachman died in July of 2014 after suffering a stroke a few months earlier. She was 90 years old.

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