Tori Bowie has passed away at the age of 32, per a release via social media, from her management team, ICON Management.
Your editor, Larry Eder, recalls meeting her at the Pre Classic in about 2015. In 2015, Tori Bowie won the bronze medal at the 100 meters in Beijing World Champs. In 2016, Tori won a full set of Olympic medals, starting with silver in the 100 meters, bronze in the 200 meters, and gold in the 4×100 meters. In 2017, Tori won a most challenging 100 meters, where she fell across the line, tearing her skin and creating bruises that had to be seen to be believed. That she healed enough to race the 4x100m to gold was nothing short of miraculous.
The last time I saw Tori was at the World Champs, where she had taken 4th in the long jump. I was having dinner with my son, Adam and I said hello to her at dinner. She was happy with her long jump and seemed happy to be in Doha.
That Tori Bowie has been taken away from this world way too early is a fact. Our thoughts, prayers are with Tori’s family, friends, fans and all who knew her.
This is a memorial to Tori Bowie, gold, silver, bronze Olympic medalist, 2 gold, silver, and 2 bronze medals in the World Championships, who died, on 3 May 2023, way too early, at the age of 32. This memorial is written by Stuart Weir.
Tori Bowie was a great athlete and a godfearing woman
I’m struggling to come to terms with the terrible news of Tori Bowie’s death, aged 32.
I don’t know any of the details beyond the statement from Icon Management.
Tori Bowie, Allyson Felix, 2016 US Olympic Trials, photo by Mike Deering /The Shoe Addicts
“We’re devastated to share the very sad news that Tori Bowie has passed away. We’ve lost a client, dear friend, daughter, and sister. Tori was a champion…a beacon of light that shined so bright! We’re truly heartbroken, and our prayers are with the family and friends.”
From 2015-2017, she was on top of the world. Who will ever forget that iconic picture of her lunge for the line at the end of the 2017 London World Championships? Her medal record is:
2015 World Championships, Beijing 100m bronze
2016 Olympics 100m silver, 200m bronze, 4 by 100m gold
2017 World Championships, London, 100m gold, 4 by 100m gold
In 2019 she came fourth in the long jump in the World Championship final. Her PRs were
Long jump 6.91
I was privileged to see all those events and also to talk through her career with her in 2017. I started with her name, Frentorish. She told me: “I don’t even know what my name means. I asked my Dad: ‘Why did you name me Frentorish?’. He said: ‘I wanted you to have a name that no one else had’. But I’m not sure what the meaning is. I go by the name of Tori because it is easier to pronounce”.
Marie-Jose Ta Lou, Tori Bowie, Dafne Schippers, 100 meters, London 2017, from World Athletics
She also told me she got into the track by accident! “I was kind of forced to do track. In high school, I remember playing basketball. And my high school basketball coach had the bright idea that we should start a track team. But it was a small school, and we didn’t have many people – not enough for a basketball team and a track team, so she forced us to do it, making it mandatory. It was a struggle at the beginning, and I remember being kicked off the team for about two weeks because my coach and I had this argument because I was uncomfortable in the track gear. I was a little tomboy and felt really uncomfortable putting on the track gear. And she was: ‘If you don’t want to follow the rules, you might as well leave’. After two weeks, I gave in, and I think it’s been the best decision of my life”.
Tori Bowie, after her gutty 100-meter win in London in 2017! Photo by Mike Deering/ The Shoe Addicts
She told me about her breakthrough year, 2014, when she won four Diamond League races, talking about it in such a disarming fashion. “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was just out there racing. Just trying to be competitive. I had seen those girls compete several times, like Shelly-Ann, Allyson Felix, and a whole bunch of huge names. So I knew when I was on the line, I had to bring my A game for sure, and I did”.
We talked about the Rio Olympics, which she called “a dream come true”, adding: “My plan when I got there was to take in the whole experience because it only happens every four years. In Rio, sitting on the bus and taking in the scenery – whether mountains or water. Everything about Rio was special.
Tori Bowie, US Champs, 2017, Sacramento, photo by Mike Deering /the Shoe Addicts
“I had huge expectations, huge expectations that I did not meet. I went there with high hopes of three gold medals, and I left with gold from the relay, silver from the 100, and bronze from the 200. But I never once had any negative thoughts about what I got. I am very thankful for all medals, whether they are gold or not. I would say that the relay was the race I enjoyed most at the Olympics. I think it’s because it’s something new for me at this level”.
Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta, Tori Bowie, Rio 2016 4x100m relay team, photo by World Athletics,
Then London 2017…”I was hoping to get the gold medal, but I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself. So I kind of went to the meet, not wanting to forget what my coach (Lance Brauman) had taught me. I wanted to stay focused. I had a long chat with the coaches before I went overseas. They said: ‘We think you’re talented, but you’re not focused on the race. And this is what it boils down to the person who can do what they had been taught in training and get in the competition and do it there. But first, you have to be focused and go to the line’. So the two weeks before the competition, my main goal was to stay focused on what I was doing and what I had been taught. So I didn’t lose my focus for the first time in a competition. I wanted to win. I wanted to win so bad because there was so much doubt going into the race – not from me but from fans and other athletes. Why do you do the 100 over the 200 when you are a better 200 runner. I didn’t like what people were saying to me. I wanted the title of fastest woman in the world. And I was extremely motivated by all the talk and all the doubts”.
Tori Bowie, 2017 USATF Champs, Sacramento, photo by Mike Deering/The Shoe Addicts
“The plan was to do the 200 in London as well, but when I took the fall and my hip was swollen and trying to recover from that, I didn’t think that I could get on the line and fight enough to give myself 100% chance to do well”.
When I asked her about herself, she paid tribute to her grandmother, who was very important in her life: “I am very thankful to have a person like that”. The last words of the interview were: “I’m a godfearing woman. That’s what I am”.
A life tragically cut short.
Tori Bowie, 2017 USATF Champs, photo by Mike Deering /The Shoe Addicts