Tori Bowie, Olympic medallist and world champion, dies at 32

The athletic world is mourning the loss of Tori Bowie, a 32 year old, three-time Olympic medallist and 2017 100 metres World Champion, who passed away recently. Bowie was best known for anchoring the United States team that secured a 4x100m relay gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She also earned silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m during the same games.

USA Track and Field (USATF) and Bowie’s management company confirmed the news of her passing.

Bowie was found dead at her home in Orlando, Florida after the local sheriff’s department said they went “for a well-being check of a woman in her 30s who had not been seen or heard from in several days.” The department said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Bowie, who was raised by her grandmother in Mississippi, switched from long jump to sprinting in 2014 and soon became the fastest woman globally. She garnered worldwide attention by preventing a Jamaican sweep of the 100m medals at the Rio Olympics. She also won the 100m world title in London in 2017 and remains the only American woman to win an Olympic or world 100m title since Carmelita Jeter in 2011.

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Tributes poured in from athletes around the world in light of her passing. Retired US sprinter Justin Gatlin praised her. He said…

“Tori was a beautiful human being and had a smile that made you want to smile too.”

Long jumper Brittney Reese also honoured her fellow Mississippian. She said…

“You have made a lot of us proud. Thank you for representing our state of Mississippi like you did.”

Jamaican runner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce tweeted…

“My heart breaks for the family of Tori Bowie. A great competitor and source of light. Your energy and smile will always be with me. Rest in peace.”

US Olympic athlete Lolo Jones also paid tribute, calling Bowie…

“A beautiful runner” and “an incredible talent.”

After her Olympic success in 2016, Bowie received a hero’s welcome in her home state, with the governor declaring November 25, 2016, “Tori Bowie Day.” Her high school, Pisgah High School, in the small town of Sand Hillary, put up a sign marking “Tori Bowie Lane” on its campus.

In 2019, Bowie returned to the long jump event and finished fourth at the world championships in Doha, her last major competition. Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, expressed his condolences in a statement, saying…

“The sports world has lost a true champion.”

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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