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Nell Jackson

Photo of Nell Jackson

Inducted: 1989, athlete

Born: July 1, 1929 - Athens, Georgia
Deceased: April 1, 1988

200 m - 24.20

One of the pioneers in women's track and field, Nell Jackson served the sport as an athlete, coach and administrator. At the time of her death, she was secretary of The Athletics Congress (TAC) and had previously been a TAC vice president. At 15, she competed in her first national championships. A year later, in 1945, she placed second in the 200-meter indoor and outdoor nationals, losing both times to Olympic champion Stella Walsh. The following year, she was named to the U.S. All-America team in the 200 meters. While a student at Tuskegee Institute (where she was coached by Hall of Famer Cleve Abbott), she was a member of the 1948 Olympic teams and also competed in the first Pan-American Games in 1951, taking second in the 200 meters and running on the winning sprint relay team. In 1949, she set an American record of 24.2 seconds in the 200 meters. She won the national title in the 200 meters in 1950, beating Stella Walsh, and anchored Tuskegee's winning 4x100m relay team. Jackson later became a coach at Tuskegee, Illinois State, University of Illinois, and Michigan State. She was the U.S. Olympic women's head coach in 1956 and 1972 and was the first African American to be named head coach of the U.S. Olympic team. Administratively, she served many organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Committee and the IAAF, as well as being an officer of TAC from 1979 to 1988.

Records Held
American Record: 200 m - 24.20 (August 13, 1949 - )

1945 AAU: 200 m (2nd)
1945 AAU Indoors: 200 m (2nd)
1951 Pan-Am Games: 200 m (2nd)
1951 Pan-Am Games: 400 m relay (1st)
1950 NCAA: 200 m (1st)
1950 NCAA: 400 m relay (1st)

undergraduate: Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee, Alabama), 1951


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