Olympic Champion's daughter teaches at school named for her Mother - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Olympic Champion's daughter teaches at school named for her Mother

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

August 14, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Olympic Games once again are thrilling and inspiring young people.

Especially the students at Alice Coachman Elementary School in Albany, named for the first African American woman to win a gold medal.

And one of the teachers there using the Olympic Games as a learning tool has a special insight, because she is Alice Coachman's daughter.

The third grade Physical Education students at Alice Coachman Elementary School are assigned to watch the Olympic Games tonight for their homework.

Coach Evelyn Davis Jones said "Tell me who you saw, and who excited you. Look and see if anything is interesting to you. How many would like to do gymnastics after seeing the Olympics."

Coach Jones knows a lot about the Olympics and how it influences young people. Sixty years ago, Her mother , Alice Coachman, in the 1948 Olympics in London won the High Jump Gold Medal with a leap of 5 feet, 6 and a quarter inches. She was the first African American woman to win the Gold. But Jones says in her youth, Coachman was not Olympic Champion, just Momma.

 Jones said "I remember my Mom had a big scrapbook with all these pictures and when she would decide to pull it out, I'd get so bored." Laugh.

But today Jones says she realizes how great her Mother is.  As an athlete, as the American woman who broke the color barrier for Olympic athletes. And how important family is to them.

 Alice Coachman said "I wanted to make my Momma happy. And that was the first thing I wanted to do by winning. Make my Mama happy."

But Jones says it was her Mother's career as a teacher that inspired her more than Olympic Gold.

Jones said "And I think to me my Mother's teaching was more special. And that's what I'm trying to do here. I'm trying to make sure Alice Coachman is the type of school that represents her well."

You can see the joy Jones has as she inspires her students. She is the only Physical Education coach Alice Coachman Elementary has ever had.  Paying tribute to her Mother everyday, teaching at the school named for her.

Alice Coachman is now 87 years old, living in Tuskeegee, Alabama, and doing well.  Jones says she hopes to have Coachman come to visit her students at the school this year.

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