Many times when Black History Month rolls around, only the most popular African-American athletes come to mind.
But what about the athletes that weren't able to get noticed?
They deserve to receive recognition too. Don't they?
Below, you will find little known facts about athletes you may have heard of, and some you haven't.
1. The first black athlete to win a medal at any Winter Olympics was Debi Thomas. She also was the first and only African American Figure skating champion in the US.
2. Emmanuel Steward went 94-3 in his amateur boxing career, and was a National Gold Gloves Champion. As a trainer, he managed 25 world champions and four Olympic gold medalists.
3. Just 10 years ago Mike Carey was the first African-American to referee a Super Bowl game.
4. Doug Williams was the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He won the big game with the Washington Redskins in 1988.
5. Alice Coachmen was the first black woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal at the 1948 Summer Olympic Games in the high jump competition. She was also the first African-American woman selected to the US Olympic Team.
6. Isaac Murphy was probably the greatest jockey of all time. His career lasted 19 years and included 3 Kentucky Derby wins. Every year he won at least a third of his mounts.
7. The first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament and on the US Ryder Cup was Lee Elder. He had 12 wins on the PGA and Senior Tours.
8. The first black president of the United States Olympic Committee was Dr. LeRoy T. Walker. He was also the first African-American to coach a US team.
9. Ozzie Newsome was the first African-American General Manager of an NFL team. He also never missed a game in his 13-year NFL career.
10. Ernie Banks signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1953, making him the Cubs’ first African-American player. In 1958 and 1959 he was awarded the MVP award.
11. Sugar Ray was the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times. His 91-fight unbeaten streak was the 3rd longest in professional boxing history.
12. Arthur Ashe was the first black male to win a NCAA tennis Championship, the first to win a Grand Slam Title, and the first to represent the US in the Davis Cup.
13. Florence Griffith Joyner also known as “Flo Jo” was the fastest woman alive. She has records in the 100 and 200 meters that still haven’t been broken after almost 30 years.
14. Michael Johnson was the only athlete in history win the 200m and 400m at the same Olympics. He’s also the only male to successfully defend his Olympic title in the 400m.
15. Satchel Paige was the first African-American pitcher to pitch in the World Series. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
16. Usain Bolt is the first man in history to set 3 Olympic records at the same games. He still holds the title as the fastest man in the world.
17. Did you know John Arthur “Jack” Johnson was the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion. During his career, he had 104 wins and 13 losses.
18. The Boston Celtics were the first team to draft an African-American player. Charley “Chuck” Cooper from Duquesne University was the first African American to be drafted in the NBA.
19. Wendell Scott was the first African American to compete full time in a NASCAR series. He was also the first to win at NASCAR’s highest level.
20. The first African-American to coach an NBA team was Bill Russell. He coached the Boston Celtics in 1966.
21. The first black athlete to win a Grand Slam Tournament was Althea Gibson. She won the French Open in 1956, and went on to win four more Grand Slam Tournaments. After tennis, she moved to golf, and was the first African American on the LPGA Tour in 1963.
22. Sheryl Swoopes was the first female athlete to have an athletic shoe named after her.
23. In 2004, Robert L. Johnson became the first African-American principal owner of a major-league sports franchise in the US.
24. Don Newcome was the first African-American to win the Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in MLB in 1956.
25. In 1988 Johnny Grier became the first African-American NFL referee.
26. Did you know Captain William Pinkey was the first African-American to sail solo around the world around the southern tips of South America and Africa.
27. In 2002 Vonetta Flowers was the first African-American Winter Olympic gold medal winner.
28. Willie O’Ree became the first African-American to play in the NHL in 1958.