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Audrey Patterson-Tyler, America’s First Black Woman To Win Olympic Medal

August 24, 1996

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Audrey ``Mickey″ Patterson-Tyler, America’s first black woman to win an Olympic medal, has died. She was 69.

Patterson-Tyler, a sprinter who devoted much of her later life to coaching, died Friday at Paradise Valley Hospital after suffering a stroke and heart attack.

At age 22, Patterson-Tyler won a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Patterson-Tyler settled in San Diego in 1964, coaching more than 5,000 San Diego youths over the years. She founded a youth track club that trained two future Olympic sprinters.

Besides developing track and field talent, Patterson-Tyler often said one of her goals was to promote good harmony among racial groups in a setting that mixed competition and camaraderie.

And she retained her self-confidence, even as an older woman.

``What they’ve got here is (coaching) by world-class athletes, and I am that,″ she told the San Diego Tribune in 1988. ``I have an impeccable record for developing athletes, physically, mentally and spiritually.″

The year after winning her Olympic medal, she was honored as woman athlete of the year by the Amateur Athletic Union. She was also saluted in 1988 at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, in a tribute to black U.S. Olympians from the 1928, 1948 and 1968 Olympic games.

A native of New Orleans, Patterson-Tyler developed a passion for running as a girl and earned a scholarship to Tennessee State. She graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education.

Patterson-Tyler is survived by her husband of 34 years, Ronald; two daughters and two sons; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Details on services were unavailable Saturday.

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