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Africans Americans have always had the heart of  Olympiads. I have been watching and cheering on the  the American team at the Olympics with pride the last few nights.  It called to mind the past winners.

There have been many that  etched their places on podiums that should never be forgotten.

John Baxter Taylor, Jr. became the first African-American winner of a gold medal in the Olympics and the first African-American to win a gold medal as a United States team member.

Jesse Owens faced down Hitler and stood proud when he won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter runs, broad jump (now called long jump) and the 400-meter relay at the 1936 Games in Berlin

Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win a gold medal, thanks to a record-setting performance in the high jump at the 1948 Summer Games in London

Tommie Smith and John Carlos winners of the gold and bronze medals in 1968 gave the world a shocking symbolic moment. At the medal ceremony they, had come to the ceremony dressed to protest: wearing black socks and no shoes to symbolize African-American poverty, a black glove to express African-American strength and unity. (Smith also wore a scarf, and Carlos beads, in memory of lynching victims.) As the national anthem played and an international TV audience watched, each man bowed his head and raised a fist. After the two were banished, images of their gesture entered the iconography of athletic protest.

Muhammad Ali was a former heavyweight champion and holds the  1960 Olympic gold medal in Boxing.

Wilma Rudolph- overcame a bout with polio as a child, won gold in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and the 400-meter relay in 1960.

Domique Dawes won the gold medal in Gymnastics in 1996.

Vonetta Flowers became the first African American woman to win a Gold Medal in bobsleighing in 2002

Michael Johnson -set a world record in the 200-meter run to get his “double,” becoming the first man to win gold medals in the 200 meters and 400 meters at one Olympiad in 1996

Shani Davis who enters into the pages of history won his second consecutive gold medal in men’s 1,000-meter speed skating yesterday at the Vancouver Olympics. Davis, defended the title he won 4 years ago in Turin, when he became the first African-American to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Games.

We should never forget all our winners past and present.

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

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