Five-time Olympian Willye White has died
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee learned earlier today of the passing of five-time U.S. Olympian and two-time silver medalist Willye White.
An athletics legend, she remains the only American to have competed on five Olympic track and field teams.
White, a resident of Diamondhead, Miss., was 67.
She began her Olympic career at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia, becoming the first American woman to win a medal in the long jump by taking home the silver at the age of 16.
She won her second silver medal at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in the 4X100-meter relay. She also represented Team USA at the1960 Games in Rome, Italy, and 1968 Games in Mexico City, Mexico, before competing for the last time on the Olympic stage at the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany.
In her prestigious career, White won 12 national Amateur Athletic Union long jump titles and on seven different occasions she broke the national long jump record. In 1965, she became the first American to receive the UNESCO Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy, considered the world’s highest sportsmanship award. White has been inducted into 11 sports halls of fame, including the International Women’s Sports, National Association of Sport and Physical Education, Black Sports, Women’s Sports Foundation and Track and Field.
White’s legacy as an enthusiastic supporter of the Olympic Movement continued after her days of sport competition had ended. She was actively involved in national sports festivals, track and field world championships, special events and programs, and was an important contributor to the U.S. Olympians Association. Based in the Chicago area, she served as President of the Midwest Chapter of the U.S. Olympians for 12 consecutive years.
Always looking to give back, she established the Willye White Foundation to help young girls develop into well-rounded and balanced individuals in 1991. She was also a frequent contributor to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s F.L.A.M.E. (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) program.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced at a later time.