World's Fastest Woman
Athlete, charity worker, coach and agent Gail Devers is best remembered as the two-time Olympic women's 100-meter champion and three-time world champion in the 100-meter hurdles. After winning her first gold medal at the the 100-meter dash at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, she was voted the “World's Fastest Woman.” More recently, in the late of 2006, she began her career as an agent and coach with the young hurdler Danielle Carruthers.
Outside the fields, Ms. Devers is known as a businesswoman and an entrepreneur. Along with her present husband, Mike Phillips, she currently is developing a Resort in Guyana, South America. The couple also own and manage a company named Phil Prod LLC, creating fitness products for infomercials. Devers also has devoted her time to give back to community by founding the Gail Devers Foundation in 1996.
“When I look at what I've accomplished during my life thus far, I realize I've been truly blessed. Now I want to share my good fortune by passing it on and helping others. Then, I'll consider myself a true champion.” Gail Devers
Childhood and Family:
Yolanda Gail Devers was born on November 19, 19, 1966, in Seattle, Washington. Her family later moved to National City, California, a small town near San Diego, which she prefers calling it as a home. After graduating from Sweetwater High School, she won a scholarship to the University of California at Los Angeles due to her talents in track and field. She graduated with a B.A degree in Sociology.
In 1988, Yolanda married Ron Roberts, but the marriage ended after three years. She is now married businessman Mike Phillips.
The 100 m and 100 m Hurdles Star
Gail Devers became interested in running from a young age and later joined UCLA's track team, where she excelled in 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles. During her senior year, in 1988, she even set an American record in the 100-meter hurdles. Almost the same time, however, health problems started becoming obstacles. While training for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, she suffered from migraine and vision loss, among others, that eventually led to her being eliminated in the semi-finals for the Olympics 100 m hurdles.
In 1990, Devers was diagnosed with Graves' disease and after undertaking radiation therapy, she quickly regained her health and resumed her training. In 1991, the young talent picked up a silver medal in the World Championships for the 100 m hurdles. She collected even more recognition in the following year when she successfully brought home her first gold medal in the 100-meter sprint at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. She also was named the “World's Fastest Woman.”
Throughout 1993, Devers amassed seven championship titles, including the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles World Championships. Then in 1995, she secured the No. 1 U.S. ranking for the 100-meter hurdles after winning the National Champion title and retaining the World Champion title. In the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, Devers once again offered memorable performance when she repeated her 1992 accomplishment by nabbing the gold medal in the 100-meter dash, becoming only the second woman after Wyomia Tyus to win the high-profile event at two consecutive Olympics. She also won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 m relay team.
After these Olympics, Devers focused on the hurdles event and won the World Championship again in 1999. 2000 saw Devers face more setbacks when she injured in her right Achilles tendon and left hamstring during her training for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She took break for nearly two months, and then won the 100 m hurdles at the U.S Olympic Trials. However, the injuries resurfaced in Sidney and she was forced to pull out of the race.
In 2001, Devers made significant comeback by securing the National Championship title in 100-meter hurdles. The same year, she also finished second in 100-meter hurdles at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada and won the 100 meters hurdles at the Goodwin Games in Brisbane, Australia. She was named the world's No. 1 100-meter hurdles for two consecutive years in 2001 and 2002.
In addition to still competing as an athlete, Devers has added agent and coach to her job description. In the fall of 2006, she became the agent and coach for hurdler Danielle Carruthers. On her new profession, she said, “I never planned to become a coach, but this is something I am doing by an athlete, for an athlete. How can I help their lives?”