Paine College Lions and Lady Lions will participate in the 19th Annual Alice Coachman Invitational Track Meet on Saturday, April 2, hosted by Albany State University at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, Ga. The hammer throw competition, followed by the javelin throw, is slated to start at 8 a.m. at the ASU complex. Other track and field events, starting with the long jump events, will begin at 11 a.m. at the Hugh Mills complex. The awards ceremony will start at the conclusion of the meet.
The meet will feature world-class athletes from various track and field clubs in the Southeast. Several Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) teams, including Morehouse College, Benedict College, Clark Atlanta University, Tuskegee University, Fort Valley State University, Paine College and Stillman College, are expected to compete.
The annual track meet is held in honor of Alice Coachman-Davis (pictured), the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Coachman-Davis made history and gained international attention by capturing the high jump title with a record-setting jump of 5' 6 1/8" during the 1948 Olympic Games in London.
While the 1948 games catapulted her to international acclaim and the first endorsement among African-American women, she had proven herself as a major track and field force in prior years. She won 10 consecutive U.S. titles in the high jump and national titles at 50-meters, 100-meters and as a member in the 400-meter relay on the Tuskegee championship team. Many believe she would have dominated the 1940 and 1944 Summer Games, which were cancelled because of World War II.
The Albany, Ga., native attended Tuskegee University, but earned her bachelor's degree from Albany State (College) after returning from the 1948 games. As a collegian, she was a member of three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championship basketball teams. She dominated Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competitions in the high jump. From 1938 to 1948, she won 10 consecutive AAU high jump titles.
In 1994, she established the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists both young athletes and retired Olympians.