Photos

 

African American Athletes

Celebrating incredible feats of athletic history

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    Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas is best known as the first African American to win the individual all-around event. She also won a team gold medal for the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Her fans call her the flying squirrel.
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    Vonetta Flowers - Flowers is an American bobsledder and won a gold medal in the two-woman bobsledding event, becoming the first black person to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
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    Cullen Jones - Jones, is seen celebrating after winning the men's 50 meter freestyle final at the 2006 ConocoPhillips National Championships and USA Team Trials. Since then this athlete has become one of the fastest freestyle sprinters in the US. At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he took home Gold and set a world record.
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    Lebron James nicknamed "King James", is one of the NBA's leading players, and the youngest player to win the Rookie of the Year Award, among several other distinctions. He led the Miami Heat to an NBA champion victory in 2012.
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    Kobe Bryant is an NBA athlete who's one of the leading players in career points, having earned multiple championship rings. He has also won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. basketball team.
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    Lisa Leslie was an All-Star basketball player, Olympic gold medalist and WNBA league MVP.
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    John Orozco - Olympic gymnast for the USA and the 2012 Visa National Champion.
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    Daryl Homer - American fencer Daryl Homer compete in the 2012 Olympics and is a two-time NCAA Champion for St. Johns University
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    Paige McPherson - McPherson, Olympic taekwondo competitor from the United States won bronze in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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    Dominique Dawes aka “Awesome Dawesome.” She came home with a bronze medal from the 1992 Olympics and two years later became the first gymnast since 1969 to make a clean sweep of everything gold at the U.S. National Gymnastics Championship.
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    John Carlos/Tommy Smith - At the 1968 Olympics, these two track stars raised black-gloved fists during the U.S. national anthem at their medal ceremony to protest, in part, the poverty and treatment of black people in America.
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    Tony Dungy - The first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl remains socially active and is out front on the causes of African-Americans, faith and family. One of the most beloved figures in sports because of his humility, class, honesty and lifestyle.
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    Usain Bolt - holds the world record for the 100 metres, the 200 metres and, along with his teammates, the 4x100 metres relay in the Olympics.
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    Joe Louis - One of boxing's greatest fighters, Louis is best remembered for losing and then coming back to defeat German Max Schmeling in 1938. Legendary sportswriter Jimmy Cannon once wrote that Louis was "a credit to his race - the human race."
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    Magic Johnson - Helped revive the NBA and make it as popular as it is today. More important, became one of the first openly HIV-positive celebrities/athletes and has since become a leading voice and contributor in HIV/AIDS prevention, safe sex and other social causes.
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    Michael Jordan - His talent combined with his charisma, intelligence and business savvy made him, perhaps, the most marketable athlete ever. The sports landscape - particularly how players are used to pitch products - changed forever because of Jordan.
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    Shaquille O'Neal - At 7'1" and more than 300 pounds, Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most dominant centers in the history of pro basketball.
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    Tiger Woods - Although he has experienced personal scandal, he has single-handedly has made the sport of golf, once followed almost exclusively by middle- to upper-class white society, popular among all races and socioeconomic backgrounds.
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    Curt Flood - Comparing baseball's reserve clause to slavery, this St. Louis Cardinals outfielder refused to accept a trade after the 1969 season. Although he lost his case in the Supreme Court, his groundbreaking objection led players to fight the reserve clause.
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    Harlem Globetrotters - Founded in 1927, this predominantly black team has entertained crowds of all colors, races, religions and nationalities with its unique brand of basketball that mixes incredible skill and hilarious shenanigans.
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    Jackie Joyner-Kersee - A six-time Olympic medalist, including three golds, in track and field. And she scored more than 1,000 points in basketball for UCLA. Simply put, probably the greatest female athlete of all time.
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    Jim Brown - although the football star retired in his prime at age 30 in 1966, Brown remains one of the strongest voices in the African-American community.
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    Jesse Owens - Not only an inspiration for African-Americans but for all Americans when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in front of Hitler and his idea the blacks and the rest of the world were inferior to his "master race."
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    Jack Johnson - The first African-American to win the heavyweight boxing title. His victory over James Jeffries on July4, 1910, sparked race riots through the country. Once called the most famous and most infamous African-American on Earth.
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    Muhammad Ali - In the arena, arguably the greatest boxer in history. Outside the arena, a symbol of the controversial 1960s. Ali stood behind his beliefs and became a leader for racial equality and opposition to the Vietnam War.
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    Althea Gibson - Called "the Jackie Robinson of tennis" for breaking that sport's color barrier, she won five Grand Slam events in the late 1950s. She went on to be a champion of youth sports programs and other areas of public service.
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    Wilma Rudolph - track and field star won three gold medals at 1960 Olympics and became the chief reason why young black girls took up track and field in the generations to follow - an influence that remains strong to this day.
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    Serena and Venus Williams - Both are extremely famous figures in the world of tennis. Serena is the current World Number 1 ranked female player.
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    Arthur Ashe - Ashe, the only African-American man to win Wimbledon, was a staunch civil-rights supporter not only in America but internationally, including anti-apartheid causes in South Africa and the fight for rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.