Miscellaneous Sports

In what other sports have blacks achieved celebrity status?

Other sports in which blacks have reached stardom include automobile racing, hockey, ice skating, motocross, poker, and rodeo. In 1923 Rojo Jack became the first black to participate in automobile racing. Wendell Oliver Scott (1921–1990), became the first and only black driver to win a NASCAR Winston Cup (then the Grand National) race, in 1963. The 1977 film Greased Lightning was based on his life. Willie (William) Eldon O’Ree (1935–), of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins, became the first black hockey player in the league, in 1958. It was not until 1981 that the league drafted its first black player, goaltender Grant Scott Fuhr (1962–); with multiple awards and Stanley Cup championships, he became the most celebrated of all black hockey players. Then in 2002, Canadian-born Jarome “Iggy” Iginla (1977–) became the first black to win the league’s goal-scoring title. Ice skating saw skaters Debi Thomas and Shani Davis rise to fame. In 1984 Debi (Debra) Thomas (1967–) was the first black skater on a World Team, and in 1986 she became the first black woman to hold United States and world figure skating championships. Speed skater Shani Davis (1982–) became the first black to make a U.S. Olympic skating team, in 2002. He won an Olympic title in 2006, in Turin, Italy, and again in 2010, in Vancouver, becoming the first skater of any race to win two consecutive Olympic titles at the Winter Games.

Motocross recognizes James “Bubba” Stewart (1985–) as the first African American to dominate in that sport, in 2004. He racked up a record-breaking eleven American Motorcyclist Association Amateur National titles. The world of poker acknowledges professional player Phillip D. “Phil” Ivey (1976–) as one of the world’s best all-round poker players. In 2002 Ivey won three World Series of Poker bracelets, the youngest player to do so. He had accumulated over $13.8 million in live tournament winnings by 2010.


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