Evelyn Ashford Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Childhood and Early Life
American field and track athlete Evelyn Ashford was born into a military family on the 15 April 1957 in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is the eldest of five children.
Evelyn Ashford graduated from Roseville High School, California (1975), then enrolled at the University of California in Los Angeles on a sports scholarship (1978).
Rise to Fame
Ashford showed talent as a field and track athlete at a young age. She was at an athletics meet in California when coach Pat Connolly noticed her. Connolly subsequently became her coach and continued to coach her until 1985. At age 19, Ashford was selected for the US Olympic team to participate in the 1976 Summer Olympics Games held in Montreal, Canada and finished fifth in her event.
In 1979, Evelyn Ashford became the first female American Athlete to run the 100m in under 11 seconds. She also ran the 200m in under 22 seconds. Her main opponents around this time were East German track stars, Marita Koch and Marlies Gohr. In 1983, Ashford set her first world record when she beat Gohr’s record of 10.81, coming in at 10.79 seconds.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in LA, Ashford won two gold medals. She ran 10.97 in the 100m and 41.65 in the 4x100m women’s relay. The East German team did not participate in the LA Olympics, but in Zurich, Switzerland in August 1984, Ashford beat Gohr, setting a new world record of 10.76. In 1986. Ashford gave birth to her first child, returning to win a silver medal for the 100m at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in South Korea. She also won a gold medal in the 4x100 women’s relay at the 1988 Olympics. In 1992, at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Ashford won gold in the 4x100m women’s relay.
Awards and Achievements
During her career, Evelyn Ashford broke the world record for the 100m sprint twice. She also broke the American 100m sprint record five times and the American 200-meter sprint record three times. She was a U.S. National Champion five times in the 100m and fives times in the 200m. Ashford was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Evelyn Ashford married professional basketball player Ray Washington, and the couple has one child, a daughter Raina.