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Olympic gold medalist Alice Coachman dies at 90 in Georgia


July 14 (Reuters) - Track and field star Alice Coachman, who overcame segregation to become the first black woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic games, died inGeorgia on Monday at the age of 90.

Coachman, who won her gold medal in the high jump at the 1948 summer Olympics in London, died at a hospital near her home in Albany, Georgia, according to Albany State University.

"Alice literally set the bar with her accomplishments at the 1948 Games, but Olympic champion is only part of the incredible legacy she leaves behind," United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

"Alice Coachman Davis has inspired generations of athletes to be their best and she will be missed," Blackmun said.

Coachman, who was born in Albany in 1923, the fifth of 10 children, took an interest in high jump after watching a boys track meet and trained herself in the sport using home-made equipment, according to a biography issued by Albany State.

The university said Coachman was denied access to public training facilities because of segregation but worked herself into competitive shape, in part by running barefoot on dirt roads.