Tulsa's very own ten-time National Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Madeline Manning Mims was a shy youngster. She first played volleyball and basketball, but when she found Track in high school, the results were immediate and impressive.
"Within a year, I was National Champion," Mims said.
Three years later, she was setting records on a much larger stage. The year was 1968, and Mims was changing the world of sports.
"The myth was that black women couldn't run long distances," she said.
By the time she reached the finish line, Mims had won by more than ten meters and set an Olympic record. She had awakened the world and become a role model for millions.
"I didn't know it until much later that I had opened the door for women of color all over the world to start running."
The implication of what she had done didn't set in even when she was on the winners' stand. It was in a cab ride with her brother.
"I went Yay, and ice cream flew all through the cab," she said. "The cabbie pulled to the side (of the road) and said, 'Is she alright?' My brother said, 'She's fine, she just realized she won a gold medal at the Olympics."
Madeline wasn't done at the '68 Olympics, she won silver in 1972 and competed in 1976. Since then, she's been helping other athletes realize their dream and their potential.
"So, I started an academic program to train Olympians and Paralympians how to become chaplains, and go back into their sport and serve as chaplains to athletes and the coaches," she said.
She's also recently started mentoring a group of young kids she calls Personal Best Athletics.
"It's awesome because the house is just lit up with a lot of noise, screeching and laughing," she said. "Then we sit down and talk about what it means to be a champion each day.
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