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The win brought Coachman notoriety in some respects but widespread fame was still elusive. In the same AP interview, Coachman revealed that many who encountered her later in life didn’t believe she was the first Black woman to win the gold. Many gave that honor to the great track star Wilma Rudolph, who won in 1960.

Coachman became the first Black athlete to endorse an international product, working with beverage company Coco-Cola. She said she was paid $500, a hefty sum for the times but small in comparison to what Black stars command today. She founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to support young athletes and was also recognized at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as one of the 100 greatest Olympians in history.

In 2004, the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inducted Coachman into their ranks.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Alice Coachman  was originally published on

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