On this edition of the HBCU Athlete Profile, we take a look at the first woman athlete we have highlighted in this series Francena McCorory an Olympic gold medal-winning track and field athlete out of Hampton University.
Born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Francena McCorory attended Bethel High School the same high school that Hall of Fame basketball player Allen Iverson attended for a short time. There she won multiple state titles in the 100, 200, 300, and 500-meter dash as well as the 4 x 100-meter relay in the indoor and outdoor seasons.
She would go on to set the state record for the 300-meter dash at 38.23 seconds and the national high school 400-meter dash record at 51.93 seconds.
Following a successful high school career, Francena then moved on to Hampton University. She holds the MEAC indoor and outdoor track records in the 400 at 50.54 seconds and 50.58 seconds respectively.
In 2009 and 2010, Francena was named an All-American for indoor and outdoor winning the NCAA titles for the 400-meter dash each year in the indoor season while only winning the NCAA title in the outdoor season in 2010.
In addition, Francena also won the 2009 MEAC Outdoor Championship and the 2010 MEAC Indoor Championship for the 200-meter dash while also winning the ECAC final of Penn Relays as part of Hampton’s 4×100 relay team posting a time of 45.21.
In 2011, Francena won her first gold medal as a pro in the IAAF World Championships as part of the 4×400 relay team including future Olympic gold medalists Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, and Carmelita Jeter. In the semifinals of the 400-meter dash, she set her personal best at 50.24 seconds going on to take the bronze medal in the finals.
In her first Olympic games in 2012, Francena once again set a personal best in the semifinals of the 400 at 50.19 but would fall short of the podium finishing sixth overall in the finals. She would win a gold medal as part of the 4×400 meter relay team with the gold and bronze medalist of the aforementioned 400 meters Sonya Richards-Ross and DeeDee Trotter as well as her IAAF World Championship 4×400 relay gold medal teammate Allyson Felix.
Francena would go on to take home another gold medal in the 2013 IAAF World Championships in the 4×400 while winning the silver in the 2015 World Championships. In her lone World Indoor Championships in 2014, she took home two gold medals in the 4×400 and the 400 respectively.
In the 2016 Olympic Games, Francena would win her second Olympic gold medal as part of the 4×400 meter relay team. Although she did not run in the final race, she ran in the round that qualified her team for the finals.
Francena McCorory’s medal count as a professional stands at seven gold medals (two Olympic gold medals), a silver and a bronze medal for a total of nine medals.