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date: 05 August 2020

Flowers, Vonetta locked

(29 Oct. 1973– ), bobsledder and Olympic gold medalist,
  • Jason Philip Miller


was born Vonetta Jeffries in Birmingham, Alabama, the only girl of four children, to James and Bobbie Jeffries. Her father left the family when she was very young, so Flowers and her brothers were raised by their mother. From an early age she was athletic, excelling particularly at track and field events. At Jonesboro Elementary she came to the attention of a recruiter from a state youth track program when she achieved what was easily the best time in a race held in the school’s parking lot. The recruiter famously assumed that Flowers—denoted on his sheet only by her initials—must have been not only older than the other children, but also a boy. Flowers went on to attend Birmingham’s P. D. Jackson-Olin High School, where she continued to excel as a track athlete and was chosen for the All-State team. She was also All-State in basketball. She graduated in 1992 ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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