To celebrate the return of the Olympic Games to Athens, site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the Parthenon "The Athens of the South" presents INSIDE THE OLYMPICS
, telling the story of the Olympics.
Edward S. Temple
graduated from Tennessee State with a passion to coach the women's track program, while establishing a concept of discipline as the base of his future Olympic machine -Tigerbelles. Temple's vision and hard work paid off as the TSU Tigerbelles have become Tennessee's most accomplished and internationally recognized athletic team of the 20th century.
At the 1952 Olympic Games the TSU Tigerbelles burst on to the international scene by winning their first medal in a track and field event. It was fifteen-year-old Barbara Jones
who began the dynasty to come. In all, this club won twenty-three Olympic medals, thirty medals in the Pan American Games, and thirty-four national team titles. Temple was the first American coach to lead the USA National Team vs. USSR at the Soviet Union Track Meet. Temple also was the USA Women's Track & Field Coach in the 1960 Rome, Italy Olympic Games, where his Wilma Rudolph
became the first female to win three gold medals in the 100, 200, 4x100 meter relay. The USA 4x100 1956 Olympic team (all from Tennessee State) won a bronze medal, and the 1960 4x100 relay team (all from TSU) won four gold medals. Wyomia Tyus
became the first female to win back-to-back gold medals in the sprints in 1964 and 1968. Other medal winners included Mae Faggs
(1952 & 1956), Edith McGuire
(1964), Martha Hudson
(1960), and Lucinda Williams
(1956 & 1960). Olympic victories continued into the 1970's and 80's, with Madeline Manning
(1968 & 1972), and Chandra Cheeseborough
, the current women's track coach at TSU, earning two gold medals (1984).
In spite of the trends of the times, especially the glaring lack of opportunity for women of color, these athletes are now the names that roll off our tongues with Big Blue Pride.
The INSIDE THE OLYMPICS
display is currently open to the public from August 8- October 30, 2004 at the historic Parthenon in Centennial Park daily Tues-Sat 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (In August on Sundays 12:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.). Admission: Adults $4.00, children ages 4-17 $2.50, seniors over age 62, $2.50. The display includes archives from TSU Library-Special Collections/ Coach Ed Temple and Chandra Cheeseborough, a giant Tigerbelle poster with Temple and his Tigerbelles, Rudolph's track shoe, Cheeseborough's Olympic Torch, and a Rudolph poster autographed by the medal winning Tigerbelles.
More information on the Parthenon, including a virtual tour of the facility, can be found by clicking here.