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Evelyn Ashford

Gold And Silver

Ashford gave birth to her daughter, Raina Ashley, in 1986 and went back to training shortly afterward. By 1988 she had won the 100-meter at the Goodwill Games and had qualified for the Olympics, although still battling the troublesome hamstring injury throughout 1987. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Ashford finished second in the 100-meter race, narrowly losing to the celebrated American runner Florence Griffith-Joyner. Teaming up with Griffith-Joyner, Alice Brown, and Sheila Echols for the 4 × 100 relay, however, Ashford won her third Olympic gold medal, to go with her silver.

In the relay, she and Griffith-Joyner fumbled the baton exchange, leaving Ashford with the task of catching up to and beating Russian runner Natalya Pomoshchnikova and then her old opponent Marlies Gohr. Ashford passed them both for the win, wiping out any vestige of criticism that she was a second-place runner to the East German. However, Ashford was angry with herself for some time over losing the 100-meter to Griffith-Joyner, even though experts have said that "Flo-Jo" could not have been beaten by anyone that year.

The Fastest Doubleheader Ever

Ashford isn't the fastest starter, but …she caught a good one. Then she just tore on down the track. "I wasn't thinking about anything; I just ran," she said. "I didn't seem to wake up until the last 20 meters. When I crossed the line, I thought, 'That was nothing special. Maybe 11.1'." Her "nothing special" was 10.79, a world record. Her wind was a legal .56 mps. When she heard the time, she collapsed. "I'm stunned," she said. "Just stunned… stunned."

Source: Moore, Kenny. Sports Illustrated (July 11, 1983): 28.

Awards and Accomplishments

As of the end of 2002, Ashford was the only woman in U.S. track-and-field history to win four Olympic gold medals. She won two of those medals, and her Olympic silver medal, after the birth of her daughter.
The Flo Hyman Award, established in 1987, commemorates the All-World Cup volleyball team player, who died at age 31. It is given by the Women's Sports Foundation to a woman athlete who over her career has exemplified Hyman's "dignity, spirit and commitment to excellence."
The ESPY Award is given by ESPN television for excellence in sports performance.
1976 Qualified for U.S. Olympic team and placed fifth in 100-meter sprint
1977 Won Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships in 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and 800-meter relay
1977, 1979, 1981-83 U.S. National Champion in 100-meter sprint
1977-79, 1981, 1983 U.S. National Champion in 200-meter sprint
1978 Won AIAW 200-meter dash and finished second in 100-meter dash
1979 Broke American record for 200-meter sprint three times; Pan-Am Champion in both 100-meter and 200-meter sprint
1979, 1981 World Cup Champion in 100-meter and 200-meter sprint
1979, 1981, 1983-84 Broke American record for 100-meter sprint a total of five times
1983-84 Broke world record for 100-meter sprint
1984 Olympic Gold Medal for 100-meter sprint
1984, 1988, 1992 Won Olympic Gold Medals for 4 × 100-meter relay
1988 Olympic Silver Medal for 100-meter sprint; first black woman to carry American flag during an Olympic opening ceremony
1989 Won Flo Hyman Award, given by Women's Sport Foundation
1993 Won ESPY Award as Outstanding Women's Track Performer of the Year
1994 Inducted into Mt. San Antonio College Relays Hall of Fame
1997 Inducted into U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame; inducted into Women's Sports Hall of Fame

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