Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett

In 1932, Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett qualified for the 1932 Olympics in track and field but were not allowed to participate in the event because of their skin colour. In Berlin in 1936, Stokes and Pickett became the first African American women to represent their country in the Olympics.

Ora Washington and Althea Gibson

Another pioneering black female athlete, tennis player Ora Washington, won her first American Tennis Association singles title in 1929. She held the title for the next seven years, until 1936, then regained it once again in 1937. Washington’s record of seven consecutive ATA titles would stand until 1947, when it was broken by the great Althea Gibson, who won 10 straight titles. he became the first black player to win Wimbledon and the French and U.S. Open titles. Gibson turned professional in 1959, and made more history by becoming the first African-American competitor on the women’s pro golf tour in the 1960s

Wilma Rudolph

Stricken by polio as a young girl and had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities to compete in the 1956 Summer Olympic Games, and in 1960, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics. Later in life, she formed the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics.

Debi Thomas

In 1986, Debi Thomas became the first black woman to win the U.S. figure skating singles championship; she was also the world champion that year, as well as a bronze medalist at the 1988 Winter Olympics, where she was the first Black woman to take home a medal at the winter Olympics.

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