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Valerie Brisco-Hooks

A Life Of Triumph And Tragedy

Brisco-Hooks's life has not been without tragedy since the death of her older brother Robert. In 1985, Valerie's brother Melvin, who was at the track the day his brother Robert was shot, tried to cross a Los Angeles freeway when his car broke down. Melvin was hit by a passing car and suffered two broken legs. In 2002, Valerie's nephew Amar Brisco, a former University of Nevada-Las Vegas football player was shot and killed outside a Las Vegas nightclub, after arguing about a valet parking space.

Awards and Accomplishments

1979 Gold medal in Pan American Games on 4×400 meter relay
1981 Set national junior college records at 200 meter and 400 meter distances
1984 Won national indoor title at 200 yards
1984 Won national outdoor title in 400 meters in 49.83 becoming first American woman to break 50 seconds in that event
1984 Ran anchor leg on 4×400 meter relay setting American record (3:19.60)
1984 Won two gold medals in 200-meter (21.81 seconds), 400-meter races (48.83 seconds) setting American and Olympic records in both. Won third gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay (3:18.29)
1985 Set world indoor record of 52.99 in 400-meter run
1986 Won national outdoor title in 400-meter run
1987 Gold medal in Pan American Games on 4×400 meter relay
1987 Bronze medal at 400 meters in World Championships
1988 Won fourth Olympic medal of career, a silver, with leg on United States 4×400 meter relay (3:15.51) in Seoul, South Korea
1995 Inducted into USA Track & Field Hall of Fame

Despite the family tragedies she endured and the physical hurdles she overcame, Valerie Brisco-Hooks will be remembered primarily for her one great achievement. In 1984, she became the first athlete, male or female, to win the 200- and 400-meter races in the same Olympic Games.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsTrack and FieldValerie Brisco-Hooks Biography - Brother's Death Shaped Her Life, Pregnancy Impeeds Performance, Chronology, An Unprecedented Olympic Achievement