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.”
It was stated a few weeks after her death that the 32-year-old died from problems related to childbirth. According to a report from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida, the athlete had a “well developed fetus” and was estimated to be eight months pregnant, according to USA Today. According to the source reported by USA Today, Bowie was in labor at the time of her death.
According to authorities, issues such as respiratory distress and eclampsia, a disease in which one or more seizures occur in a pregnant woman with high blood pressure, could have occurred. According to USA Today, the cause of death was ruled natural.
On May 2, Bowie was discovered at a property in Orange County after police officers were called to check on the well-being of a lady in her 30s who had not been seen or heard from in many days. The woman was later identified as Bowie by the authorities, who added that there were “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 rose to prominence during the 2016 Rio Olympics, when she ran the anchor leg of America’s 4100-meter relay team to gold, alongside Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, and English Gardner. The Mississippi native also won silver in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters at the Rio Olympics before going on to earn gold in the 100 meters 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 was reared in Sand Hill, Mississippi, by her grandmother, alongside her sister Tamarra Bowie. Her grandma raised her as a newborn after she was abandoned in a foster home. “My grandmother told me my entire life that I could do whatever I set my mind to,” Bowie once remarked of the lady who helped her climb in her profession.
She started off with basketball
Bowie grew up playing basketball against guys before becoming a forward on a girls’ team in high school, where she won three consecutive titles. She was a long jumper when she got a scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi. She would eventually switch to sprinting.
Her first major international medal
After switching to track, the athlete’s first international medal was a 100-meter bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships. After racing for Team USA in the 4x100m relay competition, she went on to earn silver, bronze, and her only gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
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.