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One of USA’s most decorated track stars in the 1950s was Isabelle Frances Daniels. Born in the tiny town of Jakin in southwest Georgia, “Tweety” – a nickname that stuck as a young girl – grew up in a deeply segregated region attending all-Black schools where opportunities were few and far between. As a senior at Carver High School, she won the Georgia State Championships in both the 50-yard and 100-yard dash, earning recognition nationwide and recruitment to Tennessee State – then the most prestigious college women’s track program in the country. Competing for USA Track & Field at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Daniels took second place in the 60 Meters and was part of the gold-medal winning 4×100 Meter relay team.

At the 1956 U.S. Olympic Trials, Daniels won the 100-meter dash to earn the coveted title of fastest woman in America, beating a talented field that included future three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph. At the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, she initially placed third in a tight finish in the 100 Meters, but post-race photos pushed her to fourth and just off the podium. Later at those Games, Daniels anchored USA's 4×100-meter relay team to a 3rd place finish and the bronze medal in an American record-breaking time of 44.9 seconds. Amazingly, all three teams (Australia, Great Britain and USA) shattered the previous world record. For Daniels and her teammates Mae Faggs, Margaret Matthews and Wilma Rudolph, it was a powerful moment for women’s sports and Black history as they became the first all African American ladies relay team to ever compete at the Olympics.

Presented here is Isabelle's Olympic bronze winner's medal from that historically significant 4x100-meter relay event at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games along with her official 3rd place winner's diploma. Made of pure bronze, the medal measures 51 mm in diameter and weighs 63 grams. Designed by Giuseppe Cassioli of Italy (same as 1928 Amsterdam) and minted by K.G. Luke, the obverse is inscribed "XVIth OLYMPIAD MELBOURNE 1956" and features a seated Goddess of Victory with the Colosseum in the background. The reverse depicts a winner being carried by jubilant athletes. There were 290 bronze medals struck, and this is just the second '56 Melbourne bronze we’ve offered. It presents in terrifc VF condition with light wear from age and handing. There are a couple minor dings along the upper edge/rim, but the surface and fine points of the relief remain virtually unblemished. The original presentation case is included, although one side of the plastic case has chipped off and what's left of the green Melbourne Olympics emblem has been reinforced with tape.

The diploma measures 17.5" by 23" with wrinkle creases throughout from handling and storage. The Olympic rings and motto "Citius–Altius–Fortius" adorn the top with "DIPLOMA" centered in large letters followed by "Olympic Games Melbourne 1956", "3rd", "Athletics 4x100 M Relay (Women)" and "I. F. Daniels – USA". The bottom features facsimile signatures of IOC President Avery Brundage along with the OOC President and Chairman. There is a 1.75" tear on left edge and signifcant corner wear on the top right. Pin holes on each corner indicate it was proudly displayed on the wall at one time. All print remains clean and bold. It even comes with the same poster tube used by the U.S. Olympic Association to ship the diploma to Daniels in July 1957 (postage included). What a rare opportunity to own a winner's diploma and medal from the same event!

Daniels continued to excel after the 1956 Olympics, earning All-American honors in each of her four years at Tennessee State under famous coach Ed Temple (who also coached the U.S. Olympic team). In 1957, she set a world record in the 50-yard dash. At the 1959 Pan Am Games in Chicago, she won gold in the 60 Meters, silver in the 200, and another gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay (again teaming with Rudolph). Overall, Isabelle Daniels won five AAU sprint titles outdoors and seven AAU titles indoors. Injuries prevented her from competing at the 1960 Rome Olympics where Rudolph (her college teammate and longtime relay partner) swept gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. 

With her running days behind her, Daniels married Rev. Sidney R. Holston and settled down as a teacher and track coach at Ronald E. McNair High School in Georgia where she was eventually named 1990 National Coach of the Year. In 1996, along with her college teammates, she carried the Olympic torch prior to the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Inducted into both the Georgia and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fames, Isabelle Daniels Holston passed away in 2017 and is survived by her husband and four children. Each item from her memorabilia collection comes directly from the family with a letter of provenance.

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Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $5,272
Number Bids:5
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