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This date marks the birth of Flo Hyman in 1954. She was an African American athlete specializing in volleyball.
Flo Hyman was born in Inglewood, CA and graduated from Morningside High School. She enrolled at the University of Houston working on a degree in mathematics and physical education. It was here that she became a three-time all-American in volleyball, culminating as America’s top athlete in 1976. At six feet five inches, Hyman left school in 1978 to train for world competition in Colorado.
She starred for the United States at the World Volleyball Championships that year and in 1982. At the 1981 World Cup in Tokyo, she was named to the six-member all World Cup team. Considered by many as the best female volleyball player in the world, Hyman led America to a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Following the Los Angeles games, Hyman and three of her American teammates began playing professionally in Japan.
On January 24, 1986, during a routine substitution in a Japanese league game, she collapsed and died. An autopsy later found the cause to be Marfan’s syndrome, a congenital heart disorder. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame the same year. In 1987, the Woman’s Sports Foundation established the Flo Hyman Award, given annually as part of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day to the female athlete who most exemplifies the “dignity, spirit, and commitment to excellence” with which Hyman played the game of volleyball.
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