COLORADO SPRINGS — As we continue to bring you coverage of the Winter Games, it’s important to remember the athletes who made historic strides.
As an Alabama native, Vonetta Flowers did the unusual and chose bobsledding as her competitive sport. Little did she know her passion for bobsledding would one day make history.
Vonetta had qualified in the Olympic Trials in the 100-meter dash and the long jump in the year 2000. But unfortunately, she would find herself dealing with an injury, surgery, and then a poor performance at trials. This was when she decided to take up bobsledding, and she never looked back.
During the Winter Games in 2002, Vonetta spent less than 1 minute and 48 seconds competing in bobsledding and when that time was up, she became the first African American to win the gold medal in the Winter Olympics. And today she continues to inspire us all during Black History Month, the Winter Games, and each day.
“You remember what you went through to get to that moment so you can kind of sympathize with all of the athletes who are trying to bring the gold back home, and walking in the opening ceremonies, the torch relay, it’s amazing, it gives you goosebumps,” said Flowers.
“Well, when I won my gold medal, I wasn’t trying to make history, it wasn’t until right afterward, that significance of my goal, being the first black athlete, from any nation, male or female to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics is truly special.”
Although she grew up playing volleyball, basketball, and running track, Vonetta was 26 years old when she took up bobsledding and she proves that it’s never too late to try something new.