NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Just prior to her Tigerbelles winning the 2014 OVC Indoor Track and Field Championship, director Chandra Cheeseborough took home another prestigious award when she was presented Jacksonville, Fla. Mayor Alvin Brown’s Trailblazer Award.
The honor was given to 14 community leaders who were the first African Americans to lead changes in the fields of business, education and public policy.
Cheeseborough was specifically chosen due to her being the first Jacksonville native and African-American three-time medalist in the Olympic Games.
Chandra Cheeseborough joined the Tigerbelles in 1977 after bursting onto the scene by winning a pair of gold medals at the 1975 Pan American Games.
Under the guidance of legendary track and field coach Ed Temple, Cheeseborogh qualified for the Olympics in 1980- the year that the U.S. boycotted the games.
Cheeseborogh next chance at the Olympics was 1984 in Los Angeles, Cal. She made the most of her time on the west coast, winning one silver and two gold medals. She made history when she became the first woman to win gold medals in both 400-meter relays, which were held less than an hour apart.
At TSU, Cheeseborough was a member of National Championship teams that set world records of 1:08.9 minutes in the 640-yard relay and 1:47.17 minutes in the 800-yard sprint medley relay. She won the national indoor 200-yard dash in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983.
Cheeseborough returned to her alma mater in 1994 and has led the track and field program to seven Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Championships. The titles include: 2001 (outdoor), 2002 (indoor and outdoor), 2003 (indoor), 2008 (indoor and outdoor), and the 2014 (indoor) crowns. She is also a four-time OVC Coach of the Year.
In 2009, she served as the women's head coach for Team USA at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. At the IAAF under Cheeseborough, the team collected 22 medals overall, winning more than any other country to dominate the placing table with 231 points. Team USA registered 10 gold, six silver and six bronze medals along with several outstanding performances.
Watch Cheeseborough help the U.S. pull away in the 1984 4x100-meter relay below: