HBCU alum have shined in the Olympics since
Alice Coachman (alum of Tuskegee and Albany State) became the first black woman to win Olympic gold in 1948. And no story about HBCU Olympians would be complete without mentioning Tennessee State-which has sent more HBCU students to the Olympics than any other HBCU, including legendary sprinters Wilma Rudoplh and Wyomia Tyus, Their success was made possible by Coach Ed Temple under whom 40 Olympians were developed.
The 2016 Rio Olympics were no different when it comes to HBCU representation. Fifteen athletes from HBCUs competed. St. Augustne's track coach George Williams’ made his eighth trip to the Olympics-he was head coach of the U.S. team in 2004, leading the Americans to a record 19 medals-along with four of his athletes.
Some of the highlights include Stillman College alum, Jeff Henderson winning the United States' first gold in the long jump since 2004 and the 999th gold medal for the US. Missouri's Lincoln University had three alumni participate, second only to St. Augustine's in HBCU participation. Norfolk State's Chris Brown, anchoring the Bahamas men's 4x400m relay team, secured a broze medal, passing Belgium's Kevin Borlee in the final straightaway. Hampton alum Francena McCrory will get to share in the USA's gold medal won in the women's 4x400m relay team. Although she didn't participate in the final matchup, she ran the third leg in the semifinals to help the team qualify for the finals. And lest you think HBCU alumni only participate in track, Savannah State's swimmer Thierry Sawadogo represented Burkina Faso, where he holds the record in the 50m freestyle. His former college coach, Joe Witt, accompanied him.
(photo credit: Morry Gash/AP)