Rest in Peace: Former 100m World Champion Tori Bowie Dies at 32By Jonathan Gault
American sprinter and long jumper Tori Bowie, the 2017 world champion in the women’s 100 meters and a three-time Olympic medalist, has died at the age of 32. Icon Management, the agency that represented Bowie during her career, confirmed the news on Instagram on Wednesday morning. No cause of death was listed.
“We’re devasted to share the very sad news that Tori Bowie has passed away,” the Icon Management statement read. “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, friends and everyone that loved her. As the story continues to develop, we ask that you please respect our privacy.”
Bowie’s last major championship appearance came at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where she finished 4th in the long jump. She had competed sparingly in recent years, with her last result a wind-aided 23.60 in the 200m in June 2022.
Born Frentorish Bowie (“Tori” is an abbreviation), Bowie was left at a foster home by her biological mother at age 2 and raised by her paternal grandmother in Sand Hill, a small town in central Mississippi, according to a 2014 NBC Olympic Talk profile. Bowie rose to prominence as a jumper, winning the NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump titles for Southern Mississippi in 2011. She graduated in 2012 with a 100m pb of 11.28 but never made an NCAA sprint final. Bowie finished 4th at USAs in the long jump the next year and 2nd at USA Indoors in 2014, earning a spot at World Indoors in Poland.
Breakthrough Performance at 2014 Prefontaine Classic
Bowie caught her big break at the 2014 Prefontaine Classic. Added to the field in the women’s 200 meters as a last-minute lane filler, Bowie, running in lane 1 in just her second 200 as a pro, ran a huge personal best of 22.18 to defeat a field that included reigning Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix. She followed that up with Diamond League 100m wins in Rome, New York, and Monaco, lowering her pb to 10.80. She would not jump again for five years.
For the next three years, Bowie would thrive as one of the world’s top sprinters. She won her first US title in 2015 in the 100 meters, going on to earn bronze at the World Championships in Beijing, and won the US title at 200 meters the next year. At the 2016 Olympics, Bowie earned three medals: silver in the 100, bronze in the 200, and gold as anchor in the 4×100 relay, where she teamed with Felix, English Gardner, and Tianna Bartoletta to defeat a formidable Jamaican squad.
2017 World 100m Champion
Bowie’s finest hour came at the 2017 World Championships in London, where she used a perfectly-timed lean to win the 100 meters by .01 of a second over the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josée Ta Lou. Six days later, Bowie added a second gold in the 4×100 relay. Bowie remains the most recent American woman to earn a world or Olympic medal in the individual 100 meters.
Bowie’s career would never again approach the same heights. In February 2018, Bowie was involved with an altercation with training partner Shaunae Miller-Uibo and wound up leaving the PURE Athletics group and coach Lance Brauman. Then in May, she tore her quad at the Prefontaine Classic. Bowie would never make another US or world final on the track, though she did return to the long jump after a five-year absence in 2019 and finish an impressive 4th at Worlds, 10 cm away from a medal. She ended her career with personal bests of 10.78 in the 100, 21.77 in the 200, and 6.91 meters in the long jump.
Bowie’s death drew tributes from around the track & field world on Wednesday.
My heart breaks for the family of Tori Bowie. A great competitor and source of light. Your energy and smile will always be with me. Rest in peace.
— ShellyAnnFraserPryce (@realshellyannfp) May 3, 2023
This hurt… Long live the champ, the sister, the daughter, the model and so much more! 💙 Tori Bowie pic.twitter.com/hWblXfVXw6
— illWill (@WilliamClaye) May 3, 2023
I can’t believe this. I had just heard word of her going to be with her sister back home and now this. This breaks my heart to hear and I will keep the family in my prayers.
— Noah Lyles, OLY (@LylesNoah) May 3, 2023
Talk about Tori Bowie on our messageboard: MB: Rest In Peace, Tori Bowie.
LetsRun’s coverage of Tori Bowie through the years
From 2017: LRC 2017 Worlds Day 3: Tori Bowie Wins 100 to Complete US Sweep as Joe Kovacs (Shot Put) & Sandi Morris (Pole Vault) Earn Silver
From 2019: LRC After a Stressful Year, Tori Bowie Returns to the 100 in Boston, Plans to Long Jump at USAs & Worlds