Blog // 10.13.2010

Did you know? Wyomia Tyus

Article by Abena A-T

Every now and then I don my blue tracksuit, set my mp3 player to my favorite playlist and head out for a jog down my country road. Each time I do this, I’m filled with a new sense of respect for people who actually run, not jog-walk like I do but who run long, hard and consistently. After one jog, I feel like my lungs are about to burst and feel justified in taking a week-long rest after that tough workout. Running is not easy.  

The other day I was watching some of the women’s races at the Commonwealth games in India. Those women were powerhouses. Watching their pumping muscles and breathing techniques was astounding.  I wanted to applaud. A black woman from Australia won that race I was watching and earned a little place in history for herself and her country.  

42 years ago on October 15th a woman named Wyomia Tyus made history in the athletic world as well. Tyus was the first person to win a gold medal in the 100-meter race for two consecutive Olympic games: one in 1964 and the other in 1968. She grew up in Georgia where she attended segregated schools.  Before the 1968 Olympics, there was controversy as to whether Black Americans should participate in the games or whether they should boycott it because of the racism they faced in America. Tyus chose to participate and won her gold medal. She dedicated it to two other black athletes who had given the black power salute when they won their medals. In 1973 Tyus became a professional runner and in 1974 she and a group of other woman athletes founded the Women’s Sports Foundation which helps give young girls opportunities in sports.

 If you run or are trying to get into it, power to you. We all need to do something to get our hearts pumping and increase our stamina. Me? I just bought a brand new jump rope, and yes, I do use it!

God Bless!

(Source of Wyomia Tyus info: the Black History Calendar, eSpectrum; ‘Wyomia Tyus’, Women’s History, About.com)

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