Evelyn Ashford is a retired American athlete, the 1984 Olympic champion in the 100 m. She has run under the 11 second barrier over 30 times and was the first to run under 11 seconds in an Olympic Games.
As a 19-year-old, Ashford finished 5th in the 100 m event at the 1976 Summer Olympics. After beating the World Record holders in the 100 m and 200 m in 1979, Ashford was one of the potential medalists for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but these Games were boycotted by the United States.
Ashford was ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News over 100 metres in 1979 and 1981, and over 200 metres in 1981. She also was named Track and Field News "Athlete of the Year" twice, in 1981 and 1984
On July 3, 1983, she set her first World Record for the 100 metres, running 10.79 seconds at the National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was one of the favourites to win the 100 metre title at the inaugural World Championships in Helsinki. In the final, however, she pulled a hamstring muscle and fell. The other main favourite, Marlies Göhr of East Germany went on to win.