Vonetta Flowers was a sprinter and long jumper at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She later turned to bobsledding, and at the 2002 Winter Olympics, she was the brakeman for Jill Bakken, as they won the gold medal in the first women’s Olympic bobsled event. In the process, she became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics. In 2003, she returned to competition with new driver Jean Racine-Prahm. Flowers and Racine-Prahm competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, finishing sixth, and together they also won a bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships. After the 2002 Winter Olympics, Flowers gave birth to twins. One was born deaf and prior to the 2006 Winter Olympics, she took him to Italy to have complex surgery there that was not yet done in the United States. Vonetta Flowers retired from competition after the 2006 Winter Olympics.