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Betty Robinson facts for kids

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Personal information
Born August 23, 1911
Riverdale, Illinois, U.S.
Died May 18, 1999(1999-05-18) (aged 87)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Height 5 ft 5+1/2 in
Weight 126 lb
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Sprint
Club ICCW, Chicago
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 60 m – 5.8 (1929)
100 m – 12.0 (1928)
200 m – 25.5 (1931)
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1928 Amsterdam 100 m
Gold 1936 Berlin 4×100 m relay
Silver 1928 Amsterdam 4×100 m relay

Elizabeth R. Schwartz (née Robinson; August 23, 1911 – May 18, 1999) was an American athlete and winner of the first Olympic 100 m for women.

Robinson was born in Riverdale, Illinois, and was a student at Thornton Township High School when she achieved national acclaim as an Olympic champion. Robinson ran her first official race on March 30, 1928, at the age of 16, an indoor meet where she finished second to Helen Filkey in the 60-yard dash. At her next race, outdoors at 100 meters, she equalled the world record, though her time was not recognized because it was deemed wind-aided.

At the Amsterdam Olympics, her third 100 m competition, Robinson reached the final and won, equalling the world record. She was the inaugural Olympic champion in the event, since athletics for women had not been on the program before, and its inclusion was in fact still heavily disputed among officials. With the American 4×100 meters relay team, Robinson added a silver medal to her record.

At Northwestern University, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

In 1931, Robinson was involved in a plane crash, and was severely injured. Initial reports had her being discovered unconscious in the wreckage, wrongly thought dead by her rescuer. Actually, the man merely thought she was beyond saving. He took her to Oak Forest infirmary, locally known as the "The Poor Farm", because he knew the undertaker. Doctors determined she had suffered severe multiple injuries. It was another six months before she could get out of a wheelchair, and two years before she could walk normally again. Meanwhile, she missed the 1932 Summer Olympics in her home country.

Still unable to kneel for a normal 100 m start, Robinson was a part of the US team of 4 × 100 metres relay at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The US team was running behind the heavily favored Germans, but the Germans dropped the baton. Robinson took the lead and handed off the baton to Helen Stephens resulting in her second Olympic gold medal.

Retiring after the Berlin Olympics, Schwartz remained involved in athletics as an official. She died aged 87, suffering from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

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