Flora Jean Hyman (1954-1986)
Flo Hyman was born on July 29, 1954 in Los Angeles, California. She was the second of eight children. She was always the tallest in her grade, and as a child, Flo was self-conscious about her rapid growth and height, but her mother taught her to be proud of it. Hyman graduated from Morningside High School in Inglewood, California and then went to el Camino College for one year before transferring to the University of Houston and she was the school's first female scholarship athlete. She played basketball and ran track and field for Morningside High but did not play competitive volleyball until reaching her full height, which is six-foot-five. She played in volleyball tournaments at the beach with her sister. She discovered volleyball and her destiny while going to high school in Inglewood, California. She attended college at the University of Houston where she was named a collegiate All-American three times. After the Olympics, Hyman moved to Japan, where she played for the Daiei team. In the summer of 1986, she intended to return to the United States permanently, but never got the chance to do so. On January 24, 1986, Hyman collapsed while sitting on the sidelines after being substituted out in a game against Hitach. She told her team to keep fighting, then moments later slid to the floor and died. She died of Marfan Syndrome and was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood California.
In 1975 she joined the USVBA's year round training squad and was named a first team All-American 1976, 1977, and 1978. She was also the Most Valuable Player in 1977. Some of her international achievements include playing in the World Championships in 1978 and 1982, the World Cup in 1977 and 1981, when she was named the Best Attacker, the Pan-Am Games in 1975, 1979, and 1983, the NORCECA Championships in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983, and the World University Games in 1973 and 1977. She was named All World and selected as the Most Valuable Player in numerous international tournaments, as well as being named to countless All-Star Teams. In 1985 she was named one of the All-Time Great Volleyball Players.
On November 29, 1999, she was ranked #69 on greatest woman athletes of the century in Sports Illustrated. They named a award in honor of her called the Flo Hylman Memorial Award. The National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), is celebrated in all 50 states with a variety of activities, to remember and honor Flo Hyman. It was created and is supported by Girls Incorporated Girl Scouts of the USA the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the Women's Sports Foundation and the Ywca of the U.S.A