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  • a legend passes

    willye b white, our first 5 time olympian, passed away this morning.............the world is a little less vibrant with willye not here...........................

  • #2
    A short announcement:
    http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs. ... S/70206046

    A short bio:
    http://www.tnstate.edu/library/que/white.htm

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    • #3
      Re: a legend passes

      Originally posted by louise tricard
      willye b white, our first 5 time olympian, passed away this morning.............the world is a little less vibrant with willye not here...........................
      Didn't she once set a World Record in the Long Jump? I know she won silver at Melbourne in that event in '56. I recall something about a WR in '64, indoors or out not sure.
      Take good care of yourself.

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      • #4
        Here's the outdoor record progression around that period:

        6.40 Hildrun Claus DDR 60/08/07 Erfurt
        6.42 Hildrun Claus DDR 61/06/23 Berlin
        6.48 Tatjana Shchelkanova SOV 61/07/16 Moscow
        6.53 Tatjana Shchelkanova SOV 62/06/10 Leipzig
        6.70 Tatjana Shchelkanova SOV 64/07/04 Moscow
        6.76 Mary Rand GBR 64/10/14 Tokyo
        6.82 Vicoria Viscopoleanu ROM 68/10/14 Mexico City
        6.84 Heidemarie Rosendahl FRG 70/09/03 Turin

        This is from a cached version from Google of http://www.saunalahti.fi/~sut/eng/wwrfield.html that no longer seems to open.

        Can't see an indoor progression list anywhere handy...

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        • #5
          willye's best performance in '64 was 21' 6"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by louise tricard
            willye's best performance in '64 was 21' 6"
            I got my "dark ages-modern world" dictionary out, and have worked that this is approximately 6.55m for those of us with ten fingers. So at least 15 cms (6") down on the world record.

            Before I get accused of dragging this thread away from its core message, I must express my condolences on the loss of a woman whose efforts certainly deserve many plaudits. Such sustained world-classness, plus her pioneering nature is highly admirable.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by louise tricard
              willye's best performance in '64 was 21' 6"
              A mark few U.S. long-jumpers approach even today. And if I'm not mistaken, the world record was 22' 2¼" at the time. With Olympic silver in 1956, Willye ranks as my second-best U.S. long-jumper ever (you need not ask who I put at number 1).

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              • #8
                Willye B. White, the First 5-Time U.S. Track Olympian, Dies at 67
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                By FRANK LITSKY
                Published: February 7, 2007
                Willye B. White, who willed her way out of the Mississippi Delta cotton fields and became the first American track and field athlete to compete in five Olympics, died yesterday in Chicago. She was 67.

                Skip to next paragraph

                United Press International
                Willye White at the Amateur Athletic Union championships in 1964.
                The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Sarah Armantrout, a longtime friend.

                White competed in every Olympics from 1956 through 1972, and only an injury kept her off the 1976 team. She won a silver medal in the long jump in 1956, when she was a 16-year-old high school sophomore, and another in the 4x100-meter relay in 1964.

                She was America’s best female long jumper for almost two decades, with a career best of 21 feet 6 inches. She won nine consecutive United States outdoor championships, set seven American records and, by her count, competed in 150 nations. At 5 feet 4 inches and 130 pounds, she could perform weightlifting squats with more than 380 pounds.

                White was born Dec. 31, 1939, in Money, Miss., and grew up in Greenwood. She was brought up by her grandparents, she said, because her father had contended that with her red hair, green eyes and light brown skin, she was not his child. (On his deathbed, he said she was.)

                “I started chopping cotton when I was 10,” she told Sports Illustrated in 1975. “You could chop for a whole week and never finish a row. I got paid $2.50 a day for 12 hours. The only way I could get any recognition was through sports. Sports gave me an escape. It kept me off the street.”

                White started track as a 10-year-old sprinter. She turned to the long jump because, she said, “For every 500 sprinters, there were two long jumpers.” She later entered Tennessee State University, where the track coach was the renowned Ed Temple. Another future Olympian, the sprinter Wilma Rudolph, was a teammate. But White left after six months because, as she told The New York Times in 1993, “Coach Temple wanted to control every aspect of your life, and I was too much of a free spirit for that.” In 1960, she moved to Chicago and, in 1976, earned a degree in public health administration from Chicago State University.

                She started her career as a practical nurse. Then she spent 37 years working in city government as a health administrator, a director of recreational services and a creator of sports programs for young girls in housing projects. In 1991, she founded the Willye White Foundation to help children develop self-esteem.

                In 1989, she was one of four candidates seeking three vice-presidential openings on the United States Olympic Committee, but was not elected. George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the Yankees, was among the elected candidates. In 2003, she ran for the Chicago City Council and lost.

                White was married in 1961 and divorced in 1964. She is survived by a brother and a sister.

                She was elected to 11 halls of fame, including the International Women’s Sports, the National Track and Field, and Black Sports. But she said her most significant accomplishment was leaving the cotton fields. In 1993, she told Runner’s World: “Athletics was my flight to freedom: freedom from prejudice, freedom from illiteracy, freedom from bias. It was my acceptance in the world.”

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                • #9
                  Thanks for posting this, Louise. I remember watching her compete at the Mason-Dixon Games in the early '70s, and the tremendous appreciation the audience showed for her, even then. I am sad to see her leave us.

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                  • #10
                    She beat those big bad old shotputters in the ITA mixed sprints!! A great sportsman, a great human being.
                    Tom Hyland:
                    "squack and wineturtle get it"

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                    • #11
                      I could be wrong, by I don't remember that Willye White ever joined the ITA tour. And the "mixed sprints" didn't involve shot putters (plural). It was a two-person race between one woman (Lacey O'Neal as I recall) and Brian Oldfield over something like 40 yards. Oldfield usually won.

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                      • #12
                        As a young athlete in the 70's Ms. Whyte was one of the women I looked to for inspiration .

                        I am sad to hear of her passing- and at such a young age.

                        Thanks for letting us know Louise.

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                        • #13
                          Did anyone else notice the significance of her birthplace? Money, Mississippi was the town where Emmit Till was killed - and he was somewhere around White's age. Fortunately she was in Greenwood apparently since the article says she was raised there.

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                          • #14
                            she was very much aware of that ugly life and forever was grateful for track which showed her a beautiful side of existence.................what happened in munich shattered her....the olympics were always what was best with the world......

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                            • #15
                              I never saw her perform, but the US Trials history book (a great purchase, by the way) tells me she continued competing up to the '84 trials - amazing.

                              RIP.

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