Going for Gold: Famous Black Olympians

Gabby Douglas, Muhammad Ali and more.

In the Company of Greatness  - The Olympic athletes who dazzled the world by breaking records ? and racial barriers. ?Britt Middleton

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In the Company of Greatness  - The Olympic athletes who dazzled the world by breaking records — and racial barriers. —Britt Middleton

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Gabby Douglas - At 16, U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas made history at the 2012 Summer Olympics as the first woman of color to win gold in the all-around competition. She also became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual and team all-around competition. (Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Venus and Serena Williams - Teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics, the Williams sisters took home their third gold medal in the women's doubles competition. Separately, Venus won Olympic gold in women's singles in 2000, while Serena took the honor in 2012.  (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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Venus and Serena Williams - Teaming up at the 2012 London Olympics, the Williams sisters took home their third gold medal in the women's doubles competition. Separately, Venus won Olympic gold in women's singles in 2000, while Serena took the honor in 2012.  (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali - Before he was known to the world as Muhammad Ali and, later, ?The Greatest,? Cassius Clay Jr. traveled to Rome for the 1960 Summer Olympics. Clay was awarded a gold medal in the light heavyweight division. (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images)

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Muhammad Ali - Before he was known to the world as Muhammad Ali and, later, “The Greatest,” Cassius Clay Jr. traveled to Rome for the 1960 Summer Olympics. Clay was awarded a gold medal in the light heavyweight division. (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images)

Allyson Felix - Cali native, devout Christian and P.K. Allyson Felix set a new world record of 40.82 seconds in the Women's 4x100m Relay Final and took home a gold medal in the process. Felix also took home two medals at the Women's 4x400m race, making her the most decorated female track athlete since 1988. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Allyson Felix - U.S. track star Allyson Felix took home gold in her signature event, the 200-meter dash, gold in the women's 4x100-meter relay, and another gold in the 4x400-meter relay at the London 2012 Games. Separately, she picked up gold in the 4×400-meter relay and silver in the 200-meter in 2008 and silver in the 200-meter race at the 2004 Olympics. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Lia Neal - Olympic swimmer and Brooklyn native Lia Neal won a bronze medal in the 4x100 meter freestyle in her Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Lia Neal - U.S. swimmer Lia Neal made her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games at age 17, taking home bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay race. (Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Cullen Jones - Cullen Jones, 28, was the third African-American to make the U.S. Olympic swim team in 2008 and wasted no time racking up the honors. He won gold in the 4?100-meter freestyle relay in 2008. At the 2012 Games, he won silver in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay. (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Cullen Jones - Cullen Jones, 28, was the third African-American to make the U.S. Olympic swim team in 2008 and wasted no time racking up the honors. He won gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 2008. At the 2012 Games, he won silver in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay. (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Tommie Smith and John Carlos - At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, the iconic image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their gloved fists in the air in a Black Power salute as the American anthem played made headlines around the world, stirring controversy and getting the two men banned from the Olympics. At the games, Smith won the gold medal for the 200-meter dash and Carlos won the bronze. (Photo: Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Marion Jones - Popular track and field star Marion Jones made headlines when she won five gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but the winner?s glow wouldn?t last. In October 2007, Jones admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs and, as a result, forfeited all medals and prizes. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Marion Jones - Popular track and field star Marion Jones made headlines when she won five gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but the winner’s glow wouldn’t last. In October 2007, Jones admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs and, as a result, forfeited all medals and prizes. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Usain Bolt - Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt currently holds the world record in the men?s 100-meters, 200-meters and the 4x100 meters relay. He took home three gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

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Usain Bolt - Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt currently holds the world record in the men’s 100-meters, 200-meters and the 4x100 meters relay. He took home three gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

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Dominique Dawes - Dominique Dawes dazzled the gymnastics world with her floor routines at the 1996 Atlanta games, where she was a member of the gold medal-winning American team, nicknamed the ?Magnificent Seven.? Dawes is currently the only African-American gymnast with a gold medal and the only American gymnast with medals from three different Olympics Games (1992, 1996, 2000). (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Allsport/Getty Images)

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Dominique Dawes - Dominique Dawes dazzled the gymnastics world with her floor routines at the 1996 Atlanta games, where she was a member of the gold medal-winning American team, nicknamed the “Magnificent Seven.” Dawes is currently the only African-American gymnast with a gold medal and the only American gymnast with medals from three different Olympics Games (1992, 1996, 2000). (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Allsport/Getty Images)

Vonetta Flowers - Vonetta Flowers, a seasoned jumper and sprinter, had always aspired to make the U.S. Summer Olympic team but, after several failed attempts, she took her career in a new direction, eventually joining the U.S Winter Olympic bobsled team. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, she made history when she became the first person of African descent to win a gold medal at the Winter games. (Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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Vonetta Flowers - Vonetta Flowers, a seasoned jumper and sprinter, had always aspired to make the U.S. Summer Olympic team but, after several failed attempts, she took her career in a new direction, eventually joining the U.S Winter Olympic bobsled team. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, she made history when she became the first person of African descent to win a gold medal at the Winter games. (Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Florence Griffith-Joyner - Florence ?Flo Jo? Griffith-Joyner?s blistering speed gave her the title of fastest woman in the world at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, where she set still-unbroken records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. The prolific athlete, who was known for her flashy one-legged tracksuits, six-inch nails and mane of wild, dark curls, won three gold medals that year. It was whispered that Griffith-Joyner took performance-enhancing drugs to attain such feats, though those claims were never proven. (Photo: Mike Powell/AllSport/Getty Images)

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Florence Griffith-Joyner - Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith-Joyner’s blistering speed gave her the title of fastest woman in the world at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, where she set still-unbroken records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. The prolific athlete, who was known for her flashy one-legged tracksuits, six-inch nails and mane of wild, dark curls, won three gold medals that year. It was whispered that Griffith-Joyner took performance-enhancing drugs to attain such feats, though those claims were never proven. (Photo: Mike Powell/AllSport/Getty Images)

George Coleman Poage - George Coleman Poage overcame great racial adversity to be a part of the third-ever Olympic games in St. Louis in 1904, in which many of the events were segregated. Poage competed in the 220-yard and 440-yard hurdles and won a bronze medal in each, the first African-American to win a medal in the Olympic Games. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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George Coleman Poage - George Coleman Poage overcame great racial adversity to be a part of the third-ever Olympic games in St. Louis in 1904, in which many of the events were segregated. Poage competed in the 220-yard and 440-yard hurdles and won a bronze medal in each, the first African-American to win a medal in the Olympic Games. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jesse Owens - Black American sprinter and athlete Jesse (James Cleveland) Owens (1913?1980) won four gold medals for running and field events in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Jesse Owens - Black American sprinter and athlete Jesse (James Cleveland) Owens (1913–1980) won four gold medals for running and field events in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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1992 NBA Olympic Dream Team 

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1992 NBA Olympic Dream Team  - The original 1992 “Dream Team,” the first U.S. Olympic basketball team to include NBA stars, comprised a mighty pantheon of basketball legends, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley. The team conquered their opponents at the Barcelona Olympics by an average of 44 points each game, earning them the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. (Photo: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine CMC)

2008 NBA Olympic ?Redeem? Team - After the men?s basketball team walked away with only a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the U.S. team vowed to redeem itself at the 2008 games in Beijing. The team, dubbed ?The Redeem Team,? included heavyweights Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul ? and the gold medal came back to America. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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2008 NBA Olympic “Redeem” Team - After the men’s basketball team walked away with only a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the U.S. team vowed to redeem itself at the 2008 games in Beijing. The team, dubbed “The Redeem Team,” included heavyweights Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul — and the gold medal came back to America. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Wilma Rudolph  - Track and field star Wilma Rudolph blazed a trail in Olympics history. At 16, she became the youngest member of the U.S. team and won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. In 1960, she won gold medals in the 100-meter, 200-meter and sprint relay events, making her the first American woman to win three medals in track and field events in the Olympics. (Photo: MCT/Landov)

John Baxter "Doc" Taylor

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John Baxter "Doc" Taylor - At the 1908 Olympics in London, John Baxter "Doc" Taylor became the first African-American to win a gold medal in the games, as part of the 4x400 meter relay team. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)