Gale Devers is the second woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the 100-meter dash, after it was won by Viomy Tus for the first time; Devers says Tus is his “invaluable hero” and the reason he was inspired to defend his 100-meter title in 1996.
By James Simpson
Last updated: 22/07/21 18:54 pm
Three-time Olympic champion Gail Devers paid tribute to one of the greatest Olympians in history, Wyomia Tus, calling Tus a “silent champion.”
Before this year’s games, Sky Sports told the story of Tus, the world’s first back-to-back Olympic champion in the 100-meter dash.
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Devers is the second woman to reach the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996 and spoke to her 25 years later. Sky Sports on Tus’s influence on his success.
He said, “[Tyus] is my untested hero and his name is always in my mouth!
“I can’t talk about my accomplishments without talking about him because he inspired me to go out and do it.”
‘Tus is the reason for winning this second medal’
Devers is a five-time world champion (100m, 100m (3) and 4x100m relay), but the success of the crown was joined by Tussauds by securing 100m Olympic gold in 1992 and 1996.
Only one woman added her name to this exclusive list – Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price – while Carl Lewis (1988) and Usain Bolt (2012) are the only male athletes who can make that claim. Bolt became the only sprinter to win the podium three times during his 2016 win in Rio.
Devers said the influence of Tus at the 1993 meeting pushed him to reach this second medal in Atlanta.
She said Sky Sports: “I was aware [of the record] because I went to an event in 1993 where I sat down and talked to Wyoming and just said, “I’m going to write my name in the notebooks next to you.”
“You have to, it’s a great achievement,” he said.
“And I got my sticky note back home that this is my goal and I worked to achieve that goal.
“I always tell the story that she was the reason – I was as good as I was, I do it.
“Not only did he do it and he was as great as he was – he equaled or broke the world record four times in his career. People don’t know it.
“She was not considered [a contender] for the 1964 Olympics they just said, “Get out, you’re running well, maybe you’ll win a medal.”
“But she had such confidence in him that‘ no, I’m not a winner a medal, I want to win to medal. I win these games, no one beats me in 64 or 68 ’.
“I think just understanding the type of person, the power he had, didn’t matter to him what other people thought, what you believed.
“It was something she believed in and was willing to do – it makes a difference. And I tried to be that way.”
‘You need to know your history’
In an interview with Tus, she said: “They can’t talk about history if they don’t say my name.”
Tus revealed that when Lewis won his second men’s gold medal in 1988, the commentator said it was the first time an athlete had won a consecutive Olympic 100-meter dash.
And just as Tus stressed the importance of knowing the facts about female athletes and their success, Devers said more information should be shared about the history of women, especially black women – in sports.
“I get more frustrated when I hear people don’t know their history [than receiving personal recognition], ”Devers said.
“Not knowing their history doesn’t mean who Wyomia Tus is. How can you talk about running and 100 meters?”
“I go back in history because I know that the first gold medal was won by Betty Robinson in 1928 from the United States, so you have to know your history.
“And I proudly stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and knew what challenges they faced in the’ 60s and with all the work they had to do to be what I am and what I am. for people to even know who I am.
“Thoughts [Tyus said], they didn’t talk about women in sports, and they definitely didn’t talk about black women in sports, and the work they did was insignificant.
“But it’s not. It makes us want to be.”
You can watch the full interview of Devers at Sky Sports News by clicking on the video at the top of the page.
https://www.skysports.com/olympics/news/12040/12361493/gail-devers-wyomia-tyus-was-my-inspiration-and-the-reason-i-achieved-my-back-to-back-olympic-100m-success | Gail Devers: Wyomia Tyus was my inspiration and the reason I achieved my back-to-back Olympic 100m success | Olympics News