After the 1988 Olympics, when the world watched in awe as Olympic rowers Stacey Curry and Debbie Dunn raced against the men and became the first black women to compete in the Olympics, the race was on. Dunn and Curry were the first women of any color to compete in the Olympics, and they did so while breaking the boundaries and stereotypes that had been in place for centuries.
In the mid-1980s, the world watched in disbelief as the United States entered the 1984 Olympic rowing event and took home gold. The American men’s eight boat had beaten their Russian counterparts by almost a length, at the time the fastest rowing crew in the world. They did it with style and panache, and a giant American flag.
They weren’t the only ones who had been impressed; the entire world had been. It was a watershed moment for rowing and an even bigger one for Stacey Curry, an African American from East St. Louis, Illinois.
Curry and Dunn became the first black women to compete in the Olympics, and they did so while breaking the boundaries and stereotypes that had been in place for centuries.
Rowing is a sport that is dominated by men. In fact, it is one of the few sports that is not yet fully inclusive. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Rio Olympics where only one out of every six races were won by a female, while the rest were won by male rowers. In

Stacey Curry

Curry was raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and attended Harvard Business School after graduating from the university. Curry is also an author and entrepreneur, specializing in real estate and financial services. Her company, Legacy Living, assists families with transitioning to life after incarceration.

Stacey’s Legacy: A Lifetime of Accomplishments for the First African American Woman to Compete in Olympic Rowing

Debbie Dunn

, the first female American rower to compete against the men at the Olympics
Dunn, a former volleyball player and college student-athlete of color, was able to quickly adapt to the new sport. She had transitioned from volleyball in an effort to compete in a future Olympic event where she could be on equal footing with male athletes. Her dedication and drive were admirable, but she soon found that it wasn’t enough. After competing in her first race against the men, Dunn’s victory was short-lived: The male handball team won their race.
After that race, Dunn began training for rowing as a woman of color and became competitive again. It wasn’t long before she was racing against both men and women at the same time, which only strengthened her abilities.
Debbie Dunn is now retired from competitive rowing but serves as a coach for athletes who are striving to achieve what she did: becoming an Olympic athlete while breaking stereotypes and proving that they can do anything they put their minds to.

The Limits of Racism in Rowing

Competing in a sport as prestigious as rowing is difficult, but it is not impossible. In fact, Dunn and Curry were the first black women to compete in the Olympics, and they did so while breaking the boundaries and stereotypes that had been in place for centuries. The limits of racism are not limited to those who are black; they also include those who are white. Racism is still an issue that permeates through society, which is why it was such a great feat when these two women competed against men at the 1988 Olympics.

The Legacy of Stacey Curry and Debbie Dunn

Stacey Curry and Debbie Dunn were the first African American women to compete in the Olympics, and they did so during a time where racism was rampant. They broke barriers and stereotypes that had been in place for centuries. As a result of their legacy, other African American females followed them into competition while others ran away from it.
So, what is the legacy that Stacey left behind? She inspired generations of African American women who wanted to follow in her footsteps as she did when she raced against men.
For those not familiar with Stacey Curry, she is one of the most decorated Olympians in history. From being inducted into the International Rowing Hall of Fame to being the first female rower inducted into The National Rowing Hall of Fame, it has been an incredible career that many have admired and continue to admire today.

Stacey Curry’s Accomplishments

Stacey Curry’s accomplishments continue to inspire people across the globe. From her work in the classroom with students, to her efforts as a mom and wife, Stacey has had an impact across the world on many levels.
She is a true role model for all of us who are fighting for equality.

Debbie Dunn’s Accomplishments

When Debbie Dunn and Stacey Curry set out to break down the barriers for women in rowing, they did not stop there. They went on to become the first black women to compete in the Olympics, and the first African Americans. After winning their first individual silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Rowing Games, they became the first women of any color to compete in the Olympics.
They weren’t just breaking down racial boundaries; they were also breaking gender boundaries.
Debbie Dunn also has a Master’s degree from Purdue University and is an assistant professor at Purdue University.
In addition to her academic accomplishments, she has won multiple awards for her accomplishments including:
• National AAU Rowing Champion
• National Intercollegiate Rowing Association (NIRSA) Champion
• 1985 Junior National A Finalist, 1987 Senior A Finalist
• 1987 USRowing Junior Women’s Team Nationals High Point Award Winner
• Whitewater Kayak World Champion-1985-1987-1988
• 1984 World Woman’s Canoeing Championships Gold Medalist
She turned pro after that and competed internationally for 15 years before retiring from competition in 2003.

Final Words

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