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Adam W. Green

baseball player and manager, was born Felipe Rojas Alou, in Haina, Dominican Republic, to Jose Rojas, a carpenter/blacksmith and grandson of a slave, and Virginia Alou, a homemaker and Caucasian daughter of a Spanish migrant. The second Dominican-born player in major league baseball, Alou was one of three baseball-playing brothers and became the first Dominican to manage in the big leagues.

Alou grew up with five younger siblings in a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot house his father had built in the village of Haina. For much of his childhood, food came from where Alou and his family could scavenge it: using bamboo poles and construction wire to fish in the Haina River or climbing coconut trees and scouring for other fruit. Baseball equipment was scarce in the poor village, and Alou and his brothers would play with lemons or coconut husks for balls and their hands for bats.

Alou traveled to ...


Born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, Maurice Ashley immigrated with his family to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of twelve. When he was fourteen years old, he fell in love with the game of chess after a classmate soundly defeated him. Intent on avenging the loss, Ashley read a book about the first great chess player in the United States, the nineteenth-century Louisianan Paul Morphy. Until then Ashley was only casually interested in the game, but he soon became drawn to its complexity and dazzling plays.

Ashley s ascent to the upper echelon of chess was long and gradual His start at age fourteen was relatively late by chess standards Some children begin playing as young as four years old and some of the best players earn the title of international grandmaster by age fourteen Although he failed to make the first team on his chess club at ...


CanadianFootball League player, coach, sports executive, and philanthropist, was born Michael Lutrell Clemons in Dunedin, Florida, to Anna O'Neal and Willy James Clemons. The diminutive Clemons earned his nickname in the CFL because, according to Bill O'Billovich, the Toronto Argonauts' head coach, he resembled a pinball when bouncing off of would-be tacklers. His parents never married; Anna raised Michael, while Willy stayed largely at the periphery of his son's life. Later, Anna married and gave birth to Kelli, while her new husband added two children of his own to the family.

Clemons grew up in the projects of a predominantly black working class community His family and neighbors struggled economically at one point Clemons an excellent student and math whiz even helped his mother s boyfriend run a numbers racket Still Clemons and his mother were devout attendees of the local Baptist church ...


Tracey M. Ober

Born in Casa Verde, a suburb of São Paulo, Adhemar Ferreira da Silva came from a humble background, the only child of a railroad worker and a cook. A friend introduced him to the world of sports when he was almost nineteen years old and by the following year he already held the Brazilian and South American record in the triple jump. At twenty-one, he competed in his first Olympic Games, finishing eighth place in London in 1948. He matched the world record—then 16 meters—in 1950 and set a new record of 16.01m in 1951. A year later at the Helsinki Games, Ferreira da Silva broke his own world record twice on the same day, jumping 16.12m and 16.22m, and winning the gold medal. Ferreira da Silva set a new world record of 16.56m in 1955 and earned a second gold medal at the Melbourne Games in 1956 ...


Arthur Friedenreich was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a Brazilian mother of African descent and a German immigrant father who was a merchant. Friedenreich played soccer in São Paulo for most of the twenty-six years of his career. In the 1920s the exceptional forward amazed South American and European audiences with his playing, although only a few years earlier mulattos (of African and European descent) and blacks were not allowed to play on Brazilian club teams or with Brazilian teams traveling abroad.

From 1914 to 1930 Friedenreich played twenty-one times for the Brazilian national team. No game was more important than the one against Uruguay in the final of the 1919 South American Championship Friedenreich scored the only goal of that game guaranteeing Brazil s first major international trophy and catapulting him into a position of national and international celebrity In Argentina the press nicknamed him El Tigre ...


As a boy growing up in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Alberto Juantorena excelled in Basketball. After he was sent 800 kilometers (500 miles) from his hometown to attend Havana's Higher School of Athletic Improvement, a track coach noticed Juantorena running laps with the basketball team and told the athlete that his future lay in track. Juantorena soon found that no one could keep up with him in the 400-meter race.

Juantorena met Irria Cardova, a gymnast, at the school and later the couple married. Like many of Cuba's top athletes, Juantorena enrolled in the University of Havana's Institute for Physical Culture and kept his student status throughout most of his international career. Although Juantorena had focused his training on the 400-meter dash, only a few months before the 1976 Olympics in Montréal Canada he was told he would represent his country in the 800 meter race ...


Ben Penglase

Manuel dos Reis Machado was born in Bahia. He initially called the martial art that he taught “luta regional” (or regional fighting), and this style has since come to be known as capoeira regional. Mestre Bimba was one of the Capoeiramestres or masters who was influential in ...


Vicente Ferreira Pastinha is said to have learned Capoeira as a young boy from an African-born Brazilian named Benedito. He opened his capoeira academy in 1941 in Salvador, Bahia, and worked to preserve the traditional form of capoeira, which he termed capoeira Angola Pastinha was a ...



Marcos Natalí

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Corações, Brazil, the son of a semiprofessional Soccer player, Pelé spent his younger years in the city of Bauru. There he occasionally attended school and performed odd jobs until, while still an adolescent, he began to play for the local youth soccer team. It was at this time that he acquired the nickname “Pelé,” by which he is now known throughout the world.

At fifteen, Pelé was transferred to Santos, a team in the much larger port city with the same name. Pelé would play for Santos for most of his career, and he would forever become associated with its white Number 10 shirt—along with the yellow shirt of the Brazilian national team.

In the eighteen years that Pelé played at Santos, the club team won numerous state and national championships in Brazil and two world club championships, in 1962 and 1963 ...


Record-breaking runner Ana Fidelia Quirot won worldwide admiration when, after suffering severe burns to more than a third of her body, made a comeback and won a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Quirot was born in Santiago de Cuba, in the eastern province of Oriente on the island of Cuba. At the age of thirteen she gained admittance to one of Cuba's prestigious state-run athletic training schools, where she was able to train as part of her educational curriculum. After completing her studies in the early 1980s, she dedicated much of her time to athletic training. Quirot found her niche in the 400- and 800-meter races. Just as she reached the peak years of her career, however, Cuba boycotted the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympic Games for political reasons. Quirot, who is strongly patriotic and considers Cuban president Fidel Castro one of her heroes ...


The home run duel between Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire was the highlight of the 1998 major league baseball season. Although at the end of the season Sosa trailed McGwire by four home runs, both had surpassed Roger Maris's longstanding single-season record of sixty-one, and Sosa had captured the hearts of baseball fans with his easy smile and enthusiasm for the game. The year represented a breakthrough for Sammy Sosa. Aside from hitting sixty-six home runs (including a record twenty in June alone), Sosa led the Cubs to the team's first playoff appearance in nine years, hit for a season average of .308, drove in 158 runs (at the time the fourth-highest total in National League history), and won the National League Most Valuable Player award in a landslide, capturing thirty of the thirty-two first-place votes.

Born in San Pedro de ...


Teófilo Stevenson, along with champions Roberto Balado and Félix Savón, received training from Cuban national coach Alcides Sagarra. Stevenson fought in the heavyweight class (known as super heavyweight since 1981) and was undefeated in twelve career matches at three consecutive Summer Olympic Games. At his first Olympics, the 1972 games in Munich, West Germany, Stevenson dominated the heavyweight field, winning three matches before gaining the Olympic gold medal when his opponent, United States fighter Duane Bobick, defaulted in the final round because of injury. Stevenson received several lucrative offers to turn professional after his 1972 success, but he chose to remain in Cuba to box as an amateur and to represent his country in international competition. Because of his skills he was widely compared to American boxers Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman Stevenson almost had the opportunity to fight Ali in ...


Joy Gleason Carew

Wilberforce graduate, All-American football player, animal husbandry specialist, and African American expatriate in the USSR, was born in Roanoke, Virginia. His parents' names are unknown, although one source noted that his father was a pastor. Tynes's family history was a mix of African American and Native American. One source cites his Native American heritage as Seneca, and another suggests he was a Dakota. Whatever his Native American heritage, as a man of African ancestry, Tynes was no less hampered by Jim Crow restrictions. He nonetheless earned a degree in Agricultural Education at Wilberforce in 1929 and had achieved some notoriety for his prowess on the football field. Under the name “Whirlwind” Tynes, he was also listed on the Pittsburgh Courier All American football team in that same year Despite these achievements he was unable to find work in his chosen field and in the early 1930s ...