World’s Best African-American Female Athletes

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History is marked with talented black African-American female athletes who asserted their civil rights and defied segregation to play professionally. To celebrate Black History Month, here is a look at noteworthy black female athletes who have risen to the top and the women who helped pave their way.

Florence Griffith-Joyner

Florence Griffith-Joyner, or Flo Jo, as most people know her, still holds track and field world records 10 years after her untimely death at age 38. From her six-inch-long fingernails to one-legged unitards, she brought an edgy look to the track that we’re sad to say we’ve not seen since.

Before there could even be a Flo Jo, there was an Alice Coachman. In 1948, Coachman became the first black woman to win gold at the Olympics.

Vonetta Flowers

How’s this for notable? In 2002, bobsledder Vonetta Flowers became the first black African-American female athletes in the world to win gold at the Winter Olympics.

Venus and Serena Williams

The stats speak for themselves. As a team, the sisters have captured US Open, Australian, and Wimbledon doubles championships — they also have five Olympic gold medals between them. Individually, and on multiple occasions, both Venus and Serena have been ranked as the number one female tennis player in the world.

The Williams sisters follow in the footsteps of Althea Gibson — the first black woman to compete on the world tennis circuit. During her career in the 1950s, Gibson held several Grand Slam titles including Wimbledon.

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