Gail Devers

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Seattle, Washington
Birth Sign
Seattle, Washington

Gail Devers is a retired American track and field sprinter who won gold medals at the Olympic Games twice in the 100m and once as part of the US 4×100 m relay team. She is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and one of the fastest female track and field competitors of all time. She was born in Seattle, Washington, and began running at an early age. She used to race with her brother as a kid, and once she figured out how to consistently beat him, she started hunting for new opponents to beat. During her student years, she competed in multiple school events and helped her team win the San Diego sectional track and field team championship. Her athletic record as a high school student was so impressive that she was offered numerous athletic scholarships before deciding on the University of California, Los Angeles. Bob Kersee, her coach, pushed her to her boundaries and helped her develop into a strong runner in international events. She rose to prominence after winning the 100m at the Pan American Games in 1987, and she appeared to be on the verge of even greater glory until she was diagnosed with Graves’ illness. She made a stunning comeback at the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning gold in the 100m after a hard treatment regimen.

Childhood and Adolescence

Yolanda Gail Devers was born on November 19, 1966, in Seattle, Washington. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a pastor. Parenthesis, her older brother, went on to become a professional bodybuilder.

She used to race with her brother when they were younger, and she worked hard to beat him. She quickly became a competitive runner at Sweetwater High School, where she helped her team win multiple awards in interschool tournaments.

She won the state championships in the 100m and 100m hurdles in 1984, the year she graduated from high school. Her outstanding results garnered her numerous athletic scholarship offers from major universities, but she chose to train at the University of California, Los Angeles, under legendary coach Bob Kersee.

Gail Devers’s Career

She excelled at the Pan American Games in 1987, winning gold medals in the 100m dash and the 4x100m relay. She began preparing for the 1988 Summer Olympics, hailed as a rising talent.

She began to suffer from health issues around 1988. Weight loss, skin discoloration, hair loss, migraines, and other symptoms plagued her, but her ailment remained undiagnosed. Despite her health issues, she qualified for the Olympics in the 100m hurdles but was knocked out in the semi-finals.

Her health continued to deteriorate over the next few months, and she was finally diagnosed with Graves’ illness, an autoimmune thyroid condition, in 1990. Her treatment comprised radioactive iodine treatment followed by thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

The sickness and therapy took their toll on the young woman’s body, and she suffered blistering and swelling on her feet that made her unable to walk and forced her to crawl or be carried. Her illness became so bad that a doctor recommended amputating her feet.

She, ever the strong person, refused to succumb to the disease and fiercely battled back. Despite this, she made a remarkable recovery and was soon able to use her feet again.
After her health improved, she resumed exercising in hopes to rebuild her strength and return to competitive athletics. She competed in the World Championships in 1991, winning silver in the 100m hurdles.

1992 was a particularly successful year for her. She qualified for the final of the 100m at the 1992 Summer Olympics after successfully managing the crippling disease that threatened to paralyze her. She narrowly defeated Jamaican Juliet Cuthbert to win gold. She hit the final hurdle in the 100m hurdles and had to settle for fifth place.

She won the 100m World Championships and the 100m hurdles in 1993, defeating Merlene Ottey. She also won gold in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships the same year.

Her excellent form lasted throughout the mid-1990s, and she won the 100m gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. As part of the 4 x 100 m relay team, she earned another Olympic medal.

She won the hurdles event at the World Championships again in 1999, and she finished second in the hurdles event at the 2001 World Championships.

She took a hiatus from athletics to raise a family before returning. Gail Devers, then 40, won the Millrose Games 60m hurdles event in 7.86 seconds, defeating 2004 Olympic champion Joanna Hayes.

Achievements and Awards

The National Track & Field Hall of Fame inducted Gail Devers in 2011. She was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame the following year.

She was awarded the Silver Anniversary Award by the American National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 2013, which is granted to excellent former college student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of their collegiate athletic careers.

Personal History and Legacy

Gail Devers’ first marriage was to fellow athlete Ron Roberts. Their marriage fell apart after she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and they divorced in 1991.

She is the mother of two daughters and is married to Mike Phillips.

Estimated Net worth

Gail Devers has a $2 million net worth as an American track and field athlete. Gail Devers was born in November 1966 in Seattle, Washington. She is a National Track and Field Hall of Fame inductee.