Monday, February 22, 2016

They Too Were Olympians

The following Olympians may not receive as much press or notoriety as other Olympic athletes, but these men and women are no less deserving of recognition.

Dominique Dawes and Elizabeth Okino- These two spunky athletes were the first African Americans to compete on a U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. They went to the 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain, and one of them was on the 1996 Olympic gymnastics team that won a gold medal for the first time in U.S. history. Elizabeth, now known as Betty, is an actress who has appeared on television shows like The District, Moesha, and Z Games.

 Anita Luceete DeFrantz- She was the first African American elected to the International Olympic Committee, and she also won a bronze medal in the Montreal Olympics in 1976, as the first African American to compete in the rowing competition for the U.S.

DeHart Hubbard- Mr. Hubbard was the first African American to win a gold medal in an individual event long jump.

Wilma Rudolph- As a polio survivor who would have guessed that this Olympic athlete would win three gold medals at the 1960 Olympic games, becoming the first American woman to achieve this feat.

Some of the people featured here are included in a Black History Month display that is in the Sullivan Lexington library. The display will be up through Thursday, February 25, and the library staff encourages you to come by the library and browse through it.
Sources: Editors. (22 February 2016). Wilma Rudolph Biography. Retrieved from:

Minerva Collier Associates, Ltd. (2016). Betty Okino: Biography. Retrieved from:

Smith, J.C. (2003). Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events. Visible Ink: Detroit.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kentucky's Olympians

Muhammad Ali
The winners of the 1960 Olympic medals for light heavyweight boxing on the winners' podium at Rome: Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) (C), gold; Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland (R), silver; and Giulio Saraudi (Italy) and Anthony Madigan (Australia), joint bronze. Image credit:(Photo by Central Press/Getty Images) 05/09/1960

Though they are from different decades, Muhammad Ali and Anthony Davis made their mark on the Summer Olympic games. 

Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, hailed from Louisville, KY, and he won the gold medal for light heavyweight boxing at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. He returned to the Olympics in 1996 as the torch bearer that lit the Olympic cauldron. 

Anthony Davis
Image credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images Europe; July 28, 2012
Anthony Davis, a native of Chicago, IL, played basketball for the University of Kentucky. Davis made history with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the first number one and number two draft picks to come from the same school. Davis went on to play for the gold-medal winning U.S. Men's Basketball team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. 

Passion Richardson
Image credit: Getty Images
Passion Richardson, a track star at the University of Kentucky, was a member of the 4x100 relay team that won the bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She won other honors, including third place in the SEC and a World University Games gold medal. 

These are just a few of the Olympians who have Kentucky connections. Others Kentucky Olympians include: former men's basketball coach Tubby Smith and former men's basketball player Tayshaun Prince.

Ali, M. (2004). What I Know Now. People, 61(14), 90.

Barker, B. (2012, June 29). Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky make history as top two picks. Newsday, (Melville, NY).

Huffman, F., ed. (2006), Clark's Kentucky Almanac. Lexington, KY: The Clark Group

USA Track & Field. (21 February 2001). Passion Richardson. Retrieved from:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Celebrating Olympic Greats

Black History Month: 
Celebrating Black Olympians

With the Summer Olympics occurring in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, this summer, the library staff is celebrating black Olympians during Black History Month.

In 1904, George Poage was the first black athlete from the United States to participate in the modern Olympic Games, and he won a bronze medal in the 400 meter hurdles.

In the library there are images and information cards that highlight Mr. Poage and other memorable athletes and Olympic games, from Jesse Owens and Muhammad Ali to Gabby Douglas and former University of Kentucky basketball player, Anthony Davis.

Gabby Douglas
Anthony Davis

The official Olympics website has a wealth of information about each athlete and the games themselves  too if you want to know more. For instance, did you know that the 1936 Olympics in Berlin were the first to be televised?

We leave you with this clip of the 100 meter dash from the Berlin Olympics.

Image credits: Gabrielle Douglas photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Anthony Davis photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images Europe, July 28, 2012.