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Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story

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A timely memoir about world record–breaking Tyus’s 1964 and 1968 Olympic victories, amid the turbulence of the 1960s, along with contemporary reflections.

$19.95 $14.97

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What people are saying…

Finalist for the Track and Field Writers of America’s 2018 Armory Foundation Book Award!

“Tyus proves as winning a storyteller as she was a runner . . . The ‘a’ in Wyomia is silent, but thankfully, the woman who owns that name is not.”
New York Times Book Review

“Tigerbelle offers a fresh perspective on the history of women’s sports in the United States. From her one-of-a-kind accomplishments on the track to her contributions to equal pay and publicity for women through the Women’s Sports Foundation, Wyomia Tyus has earned her place in the pantheon of American sports sheroes and heroes.”
—Billie Jean King

The Women’s National Book Association has named Tigerbelle a National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads selection for 2018!

“The story of Tyus and the Tennessee State Tigerbelles has been likened to the Hidden Figures of women’s sports, and the comparison is apt. Though Tyus never graced the cover of a Wheaties box or Sports Illustrated, she and her teammates became an unparalleled force in track and field, breaking barriers, setting records, and challenging the racism and sexism of their era.”
Literary Hub

“Wyomia Tyus may not be as well known as Wilma Rudolph or Billie Jean King, but her athletic accomplishments and life story are equally captivating, as related in this remarkable and inspiring memoir . . . This deeply moving book by one of our greatest athletes makes indelible statements about integrity, growing up black in the South, social activism, gender equality, and inclusion.”
Booklist, STARRED Review

“Olympic sprinting champion Tyus’ moving memoir not only recounts her athletic triumphs but it also makes indelible statements about growing up black in the South, social activism, gender equality, and inclusion.”
Booklist, Included in Top 10 Sports Nonfiction: 2018

“A half-century after her triumph, a record-setting Olympic champion receives her due . . . [Tyus] has lived a life of accomplishment and meaning. An inspirational story that deserves to be told.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[Dave] Zirin’s Edge of Sports imprint at Akashic is publishing Tigerbelle (Sept.), a memoir from two-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Wyomia Tyus. The daughter of a tenant farmer in rural Georgia, she won top honors at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. In the book, coauthored by Elizabeth Terzakis, she recalls her turbulent path to the top and her struggle to find recognition afterward.”
Publishers Weekly, Sports Preview Feature

“This timely and important autobiography reintroduces a pioneer whose values and personal strength transcend her extraordinary athletic achievements, reestablishing her place in history, both on and off the track.”
Library Journal

Included in the 2018 35 Over 35 List

Featured title selected by Bustle from the 35 Over 35 List

“In Tigerbelle, Tyus reclaims her story and shares it with a new generation who has much to learn from her struggles . . . Tyus’ voice is engaging throughout, capturing the reader’s attention and never letting go as she tells her unfairly forgotten story of Olympic glory.”
Fansided, Included in A Black History Month sports reading list

“Tyus was the first Olympian to win two consecutive gold medals in the 100m when she won in the 1964 Tokyo Games and in the 1968 Mexico City Games. She chronicled her track and field career in her autobiography Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story.”
Los Angeles Sentinel

“Wyomia Tyus’ descriptions of the Tigerbelles’ team unity, the friendships that developed even in the midst of hard times, and their eventual championships, both individually and as a team, provide a look at a time and era in sports and women’s history that doesn’t get nearly the exposure as it deserves . . . Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story is a book all fans of any sport, but particularly those who love track and field, will enjoy. But it also covers an equally important slice of history, both for HBCUs and women’s sports, that should never be forgotten nor undervalued.”
The Tennessee Tribune

“Her new memoir, Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story, explores her life, from her childhood growing up on a dairy farm in Griffin, Georgia, to her journey to becoming part of the Tennessee State Tigerbelles and then using her success as a platform to move equality forward in sports. Throughout her life, and in the new book, she drew inspiration from her track and field coach Ed Temple, who produced 40 Olympic athletes in his career and always saw the potential of black women athletes, including Tyus, during the 1960s and beyond.”

Tigerbelle tells a story of a great athlete in an unappreciated sport, a sport that, despite the money, is still undervalued and deserving of greater reward and recognition.”
Track & Field News

“Read it: For an important memoir of Wyomia Tyus, the first athlete to successfully defend an Olympic 100-meter title, winning in 1964 and 1968. From a tenant dairy farmer to a Tennessee State Tigerbelle to an Olympic champion, she reveals the struggles she faced to get to the top as well as the challenge to gain recognition as a black female athlete.”
Women’s Running Magazine Included in Runner Reads: Our Favorite Books for September 2018

“One of the standout athletes of the [1960s] . . . Carl Lewis, Gail Devers, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt later joined Tyus in the multiple Olympic 100m titles club, but Tyus, a standout of Ed Temple‘s Tennessee State Tigerbelles track teams, will always be the first.”
NBC Sports Online

“You can say track stars Gail Devers, Carl Lewis and even Usain Bolt ran in the footsteps of Wyomia Tyus.”
New York Amsterdam News

“A must read. Written with clarity, candor, and boundless energy, it demonstrates the resolve of the human spirit to emerge victorious against the greatest odds.”
Jamaica Gleaner

“It’s an interesting account, especially for what it shows about [Tyus’s] world, which became dramatically wider (she was raised in the rural south but traveled extensively as a result of her athletic expertise) as well as for the gender dynamics prevailing in the era when she was coming up as an Olympian.”
History News Network, recommended by Professor Carla Gardina Pestana

“The book’s strength . . . rests not simply with recovering a past of sporting accomplishments we have chosen to ignore. Tigerbelle is a powerful book because of the many ways in which Tyus’s resistance, against the realities of racism and sexism, is threaded throughout almost every part of the manuscript . . . The narrative is deeply personal, yet never self-absorbed. Many readers will find inspiration and meaning in Wyomia Tyus’ stories. In that way the book is both a selfless and resistive act.”
Calyx Journal

“Wyomia Tyus’s story is truly an American story. It is one of profound loss and quiet courage, illustrating the contradictions of race and gender in this country and an unrelenting commitment to growth in spite of life’s obstacles. From a dairy farm in Griffin, Georgia, to the annals of American sports history, Tyus inspires and teaches us all about ‘getting out of the blocks’ with humility, grace, and power. Her story gives true meaning to the phrase Black Girl Magic!”
—Eddie S. Glaude Jr., chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University

“Wyomia Tyus has been an eyewitness to the cutting edge of history. Along with her Tigerbelle teammates, she pioneered sporting opportunities for women. As a great Olympic champion, she became the first person to successfully defend an Olympic hundred-meter-dash title. As a black woman, she saw how America treated her heroes, and how quickly they were cast aside. Wyomia’s perspective is observant, thoughtful, and full of hope—a voice of her generation that needs to be heard.”
—John Naber, five-time Olympic medalist swimmer

“Wyomia Tyus adds an important page to the story of black women athletes and their accomplishments during the civil rights era. Highlighting the courage, commitment, and mutual support of the Tigerbelles, and the hard work and dedication of our father figure and coach, Ed Temple, this is a must-read for all generations.”
—Edith McGuire Duvall, Tigerbelle, Olympic gold medalist

“Wyomia Tyus understood what the ‘Ed Temple way’ meant—strict discipline, integrity, and, most important, love. Her stories make clear how the Tigerbelles were able to succeed in the classroom, on the track, and in the world.”
—Dr. Edwina R. Temple, daughter of Tigerbelle coach Edward S. Temple


The latest from Akashic’s Edge of Sports imprint, curated by Dave Zirin.

In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first person ever to win gold medals in the 100-meter sprint in two consecutive Olympic Games, a feat that would not be repeated for twenty years or exceeded for almost fifty. Tigerbelle chronicles Tyus’s journey from her childhood as the daughter of a tenant dairy farmer through her Olympic triumphs to her post-competition struggles to make a way for herself and other female athletes.

The Hidden Figures of sport, Tigerbelle helps to fill the gap currently occupying Black women’s place in American history, providing insight not only on what it takes to be a champion but also on what it means to stake out an identity in an often hostile world. Tyus’s exciting and uplifting story offers inspiration to readers from all walks of life.

With a foreword by MSNBC host Joy Reid, and an afterword by sportswriter Dave Zirin.

Read a feature on Wyomia Tyus at the New York Times.

Watch an interview with UK’s Sky Sports.

Watch a broadcast feature on Wyomia Tyus at 11 Alive.

Listen to a feature on and interview with Wyomia Tyus at WBUR’s Only A Game.

Read an interview with Edge of Sports imprint curator Dave Zirin at Publishers Weekly.

Read features on Wyomia Tyus at the Guardian, Washington Post, ESPNW, at the Griffin Daily News (Griffin, GA), at Arizona State University’s ASU Now, on the Team USA website, Brooklyn Digest, the Los Angeles Sentinal, on NBC Sports, World Athletics, and at the New York Amsterdam News.

Read a Q&A with Wyomia Tyus and Elizabeth Terzakis at 35 over 35. 

Read an excerpt from Tigerbelle at NBC Sports Online.

Listen to a podcast interview with Wyomia Tyus on NBC Sports Olympic’s On Her Turf.

Listen to a podcast interview with Wyomia Tyus on MSNBC’s Into America.

Listen to interviews with Wyomia Tyus on Atlanta, GA’s WAOK AM and Pros & Prose.

Listen to an interview with Wyomia Tyus and Elizabeth Terzakis at Better Off Red.

Watch an interview with Wyomia Tyus at Inside the Issues with Alex Cohen.

Read a feature on Wyomia Tyus at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for Black History Month and watch an accompanying video highlighting Tyus’ life and accomplishments:

Listen to an interview with Wyomia Tyus at The Nations’s Edge of Sports podcast:


Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 9/4/18
  • IBSN: 9781617756580
  • e-IBSN: 9781617756733
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617756764


WYOMIA TYUS was born and raised in Griffin, Georgia. She attended Tennessee State University in Nashville and ran under the tutelage of visionary coach Ed Temple as a member of the Tigerbelles until she graduated in 1968. A four-time Olympic medalist, and the holder of multiple world records, Tyus was also a supporter of the Olympic Project for Human Rights during the 1968 Olympics, doing her part to promote justice for oppressed people around the world. As a founding member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, she continues to advocate for women’s equality in sports to this day. Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story is her first book.

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ELIZABETH TERZAKIS teaches English and creative writing at a community college in Northern California. Her fiction has appeared in New England Review, Minerva Rising, Solstice, and Birdland Journal, and her nonfiction publications include articles on the global AIDS crisis, education, free speech, human nature, and capital punishment. Tigerbelle is her first book.

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