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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/27/2023

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, 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.

Offered here is the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics participation medal and Athletics (Track & Field) badge issued Isabelle Daniels. Made of bronze and designed by Andor Meszaros, medal is 63 mm diamater, 4 mm thick, and weighs 102 grams. The obverse has the Olympic motto encircled by pairs of athletes following the march of a flag-bearer. The reverse has the Melbourne coat of arms and Olympic rings, with "Olympic Games Melbourne 1956" in raised text along the rop rim. It comes in fine shape with modeate wear. The scarcer Athletics badge (31 mm wide, 52 mm tall) has a discolored silver background from age and wear, but the lovely enamelwork retains its vibrant colors. "Olympic Games Melbourne 1956" surrounds the red perimeter with the colorful Olympic rings, red Olympic cauldron and green Australia continent down the middle. The hanging red ribbon (8 cm long) is intact with "ATHLETICS" in bold white print still perfectly legible. Daniels' unique badge number "4414" is engraved on the back. We cannot stress enough how tough it is to acquire both of these items from the same athlete who originally received them in 1956.

Isabelle 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 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 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, 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.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $300
Final prices include buyers premium.: $640
Number Bids:6
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