- Anne M. Blaschke
Coachman, Alice (9 Nov. 1923–14 July 2014), track and field athlete and Olympic gold medalist, was born Alice Marie Coachman in Albany, Georgia to Fred and Evelyn Coachman. She was the fifth of her parents’ ten children and grew up poor, picking cotton to supplement her family’s income. Coachman showed an early affinity for sport, particularly jumping and running, even though her parents disapproved of girls’ athletics. Undaunted, Coachman honed her skills through adolescence by stealing away barefoot to secluded forest clearings and dirt roads to practice jumps. After Fred Coachman’s death, Evelyn Coachman grudgingly supported her daughter’s athleticism, taking out loans to afford the gear and other expenses of track and field. Alice also received encouragement from her grade school teachers and an aunt....