Six facts about U.S. Olympian Tori Bowie, who died during childbirth at just 32

Mildred Europa Taylor June 13, 2023
Tori Bowie after winning the gold medal in the women's 100m final during the World Athletics Championships in London on Aug. 7, 2017. Alastair Grant / AP file

The track and field community was left in shock in May following reports that world champion sprinter and three-time Olympic medalist Tori Bowie had died. “We’ve lost a client, dear friend, daughter and sister,” Bowie’s management company Icon Management Inc. said in a statement at the time. “Tori was a champion…a beacon of light that shined so bright! We’re truly heartbroken and our prayers are with the family, friends and everyone that loved her.”

Some weeks after her death, it is being reported that the 32-year-old died from complications related to childbirth. A report from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida said the athlete had a “well developed fetus” and was estimated to have been eight months pregnant, USA Today reported. Bowie was undergoing labor at the time of her death, the report cited by USA Today said.

Authorities said there might have been complications including respiratory distress and eclampsia, a condition in which one or more convulsions occur in a pregnant woman suffering from high blood pressure. The manner of death was ruled natural, USA Today reported.

Bowie was found at a residence in Orange County on May 2 after police officers were asked to conduct a well-being check on a woman in her 30s who had not been seen or heard from in several days. The officers later identified the woman as Bowie, adding that there had been “no signs of foul play.”

“She was an admired friend, teammate, and a great representative of Team USA. We send our sincere condolences to all who know and loved her,” Team USA wrote after her death.

Bowie became popular at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she ran the anchor leg that took America’s 4×100-meter relay team to gold, with her running mates being Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix and English Gardner. The Mississippi native also won silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200 at the games in Brazil before going on to win the 100-meter gold at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

Besides being a beautiful runner, here are some facts about Bowie you should know:

She was raised by her grandmother

Bowie comes from Sand Hill, Mississippi, where she was raised by her grandmother alongside her sister Tamarra Bowie. Her grandmother took care of her as an infant after she was left at a foster home. “My entire life my grandmother told me I could do whatever I set my mind to,” Bowie once said of the woman who helped her rise in her career.

She started off with basketball

Bowie played basketball games against boys when she was growing up before becoming a forward on a girls’ team when she was in high school, winning three championships in a row. She won a scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi at a time she had become a long jumper. She would later turn to sprinting.

Her first major international medal 

After moving to track, the athlete’s first international medal became a 100-meter bronze at worlds in 2015. She would go on to win the silver and bronze medals including her only gold trophy during the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro after competing for Team USA in the 4x100m relay race.

Florence Griffith Joyner was one of her biggest inspirations

Besides being inspired by her grandmother, Bowie also admired legendary sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner largely because she set the bar high, the track star said. “She was always relaxed before the race, and even during the race,” Bowie said to Vogue in 2018. “That’s what I’m trying to reach this year—I’m trying to relax and let things go.” 

Her top training tip

I think my favorite one is balance work. Because my therapist always tells me that I can’t get stronger unless I’m balanced, and that’s something I focus on a lot when I’m training,” said Bowie to The Guardian.

The athlete competed in the long jump,100-meter and 200-meter events, with the 200-meter dash being her favorite race.

She was a model

The U.S. Olympian did some modeling work for Valentino’s 2018 resort campaign and a Stella McCartney Adidas collaboration, Vogue reported.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 13, 2023


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