Release Courtesy of Tennessee State University Department of Media Relations: RELEASE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former Tennessee State University Tigerbelles Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice and Madeline Manning Mims are among Olympians being honored during the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
The women will participate in the opening ceremony at storied Hayward Field and will join other Olympians who will be recognized for their achievements throughout the trials July 1-10.
“It’s exciting,” said Cheeseborough-Guice, who is director of TSU’s track and field program. “It’s going to be like a reunion.”
Mims said she too is looking forward to reconnecting with other Olympians.
“We’re all out there doing our thing and we’re in different places, so we don’t get a chance to see each other,” Mims said. “This is a great opportunity for us to come back together and find out what’s going on, and watch the young ones come in.”
Cheeseborough-Guice emerged on the scene in 1975 at age 16, where she won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash in the Pan American Games. She went on to be named to three United States Olympic teams. In 1984, at the Los Angeles games, she made Olympic history by running a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400 meters.
Between 1967 and 1981, Mims won 10 national titles and set a number of American records. She participated in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. At the 1968 games, she was awarded a gold medal in the 800-meter race, the only American woman to win the event. In 1972, she won a silver medal in the 4 x 400 meters relay. Mims founded the U.S. Council for Sports Chaplaincy. The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics will be her eighth as a Team USA chaplain.
Dwight Lewis, who is co-authoring a book about TSU’s famed Tigerbelles, said it’s only fitting that Cheeseborough-Guice and Mims should be recognized during the trials because they were part of a team that “paved the way for other women in sports.”
The Tigerbelles got the attention of the world in 1956 when TSU (Tennessee A&I at the time), led by legendary track and field coach Ed Temple, sent six members to the Olympics in Australia. The Tigerbelles returned to the 1960 Olympics in Rome and made history when Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, making her a household name.
The Tigerbelles won a total of 23 Olympic medals. Lewis said what was also impressive about members of the team is that they also excelled outside track and field.
“Not only did they perform well in track and field, but … they got their degrees,” he said.
Temple said Cheeseborough-Guice and Mims, as well as all his Tigerbelles, are inspirations and deserve all the recognition they continue to get.
“They are an inspiration to everybody,” Temple said. “It just shows what can be done. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”