Former Southern Miss track star and Olympic champion Tori Bowie dies at 32


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 6, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Tori Bowie (USA) takes a victory lap with United States flag after winning the womens 100m in 10.85 during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tori Bowie, former Southern Miss track star, Olympic medalist, and world champion, has died at age 32, according to a May 3 Tweet by her management agency, Icon Management.

“We’re devasted 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,” Icon Management said in a statement posted on Twitter.

At this moment, Bowie’s cause of death has not been released to the public. According to media reports, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida responded Tuesday afternoon to a home in the area “for a well-being check of a woman in her 30s who had not been seen or heard from in several days.” The sheriff’s office wrote that a woman, “tentatively identified as Frentorish “Tori” Bowie, was found dead in the home. There were no signs of foul play.”

The track community has mourned the loss of Bowie. 

“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Tori Bowie,” Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain said. “She represented the Golden Eagle spirit in so many ways and was an inspiration to many of our student-athletes. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

“I’m very saddened to hear of Tori’s passing,” Southern Miss Track and Field Coach Jon Stuart said. “She was such an iconic figure for our track and field program. I only wish comfort and peace for her family and friends.”

Fellow Mississippi track star Brittney Reese also shared her condolences for the loss of Bowie.

“I’m so heartbroken over this…you have made a lot of us proud. Thank you for representing our state of Mississippi like you did. RIP,” Reese wrote on Twitter.

The former Golden Eagle represented the United States national track and field team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bowie left her mark as one of the best in the world at the Olympics, earning three medals.

She earned bronze in the 200-meter event with a time of 22.15, won silver in the 100-meter race with a time of 10.83, and closed the last leg of the 4×100 relay to earn a gold medal.

Bowie leads a short list of Olympic athletes from Mississippi. She came to Southern Miss from Pisgah High School, where she was a two-time state champion in the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and a three-time state champion in the 4×100 meter relay.

Bowie quickly succeeded at the collegiate level, placing at the Conference USA championships and reaching the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships as a freshman.

She finished sixth in the NCAA meet the next season and earned eighth place in the national USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In 2011, she set records and became an NCAA National Champion at Southern Miss, achieving the best long jump in indoor and outdoor seasons.

She set a final school record in the long jump to win a Conference USA title as a senior, which still stands today. 

Bowie left her mark as one of the most successful athletes in program history.

The University held Tori Bowie Day on November 25, 2016, in honor of her accomplishments. Southern Miss Athletics dedicated a sign with her name at the Bell Track and Field Soccer Complex, where she once competed.

Bowie succeeded in other national and global events outside the Olympics, including winning gold in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 World Athletics Championships and gold in the 4×100-meter relay. She is the last American woman to win the 100-meter dash on an international stage.