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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History

Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
Black History and Blacks in U.S. History

Evelyn Ashford
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.69

     challenging words:    anchor-person, consecutive, champion, commentator, participate, scholarship, currently, attend, impressed, repair, politics, history, cable, record, rival, however
     content words:    Evelyn Ashford, Vietta Ashford, Air Force, Los Angeles, Pat Connolly, Soviet Union, President Jimmy Carter, United States, Marlies Gohn, World Class Women
Evelyn Ashford

By Trista L. Pollard
1     On April 15, 1957, an Olympic champion was born. Evelyn Ashford was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her parents are Samuel and Vietta Ashford. As a child, Ashford was interested in running. In fact, she was very talented at running. When she was young, her family moved quite often. Her father was in the Air Force. At age 13, she got the opportunity to run track for a season in Alabama.
2     Ashford's family then moved to Roseville, California. This is where she gained more experience in running. Since her high school did not have a girls' track team, Ashford joined the boys' track team. She was so talented that she won a track scholarship to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1975. While at UCLA, Ashford trained with Pat Connolly, who had taken part in three Olympics herself. Connolly was very impressed with Ashford's running talent from the very first practice. Ashford started training for the 1976 Olympics. She came in fifth place in the 100-meter race at the Olympics in Montreal, Canada. She was 19 years old.
3     Ashford continued to train and attend UCLA. In 1977 and 1978 she won the 100- and 200-meter events in the national college championship. By 1980, Ashford had become a world champion. Everyone thought she had the potential to win gold in the Olympics that year. Then she suffered a huge disappointment. She tore a quad muscle in May and was out for the rest of the season. The 1980 Olympics was boycotted by the U.S. that year anyway. Afghanistan had been invaded by the Soviet Union (Russia). President Jimmy Carter protested the invasion. The United States did not participate in the Olympics that year. With her hopes of a gold medal pushed aside, Ashford took a year off from running track. This gave her the opportunity to repair her injured muscle and to think about her future. She married the basketball star Ray Washington.

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