WTXL Road Trip: Cairo, Teresa Edwards

WTXL Road Trip: Cairo, Teresa Edwards
Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-24 22:11:00-04

CAIRO (WTXL) - When it comes to sports, Cairo, Georgia is a melting pot of athletic dominance. Jackie Robinson was born in the city, while several big league baseball and NFL players went to Cairo High School. Arguably one of the most successful is Teresa Edwards, and she has the medals to prove it.

"She played for five different times in the Olympics," said Richard Vanlandingham, a former Cairo Mayor who watched Teresa grow up. "She's one of the few people to ever do that."

She's the only female basketball player to accomplish the feat, and one of just two female ballers to hold four Olympic golds.

"When you hear her name and you hear things on the news, you're always interested to see what else she's done," said Grady County Schools Superintendent Kermit Gilliard, who was a freshman Teresa's senior year of high school. "We continue to hear of great things that she has done."

Teresa was making Cairo famous long before she was hauling in Gold. She put Cairo on the map her senior year, beating Hart County 49 to 48 for the State Championship.

"She was by far the number one player of all the people," said VanLandingham. "She was scoring amazing numbers. She was scoring a third to 50% of all the scoring."

"I remember the time she won the Parade All-American, the principal made the announcement that she had one that," said Gilliard. "You're sitting in homeroom as a freshman and you really don't know what that means, but it must be a big deal because the principal made the announcement."

Teresa continued her career at the University of Georgia, where she was a two time All-American, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a National Runner-Up finish in 1985.

By the time her Senior season at Georgia rolled around, Teresa already had one Olympic gold around her neck. She'd add three more and a bronze, playing in her final games in Sydney. Throw in a World Championship, time abroad and in the WNBA, and to think it all started in Cairo as a Syrupmaid.

"We went to see her when she played in Atlanta at the Olympics there," remembered VanLandingham. "That was just fantastic to watch. It's just amazing how she continued to play so well after that."

"The students today think that they're from little Cairo and you can't do anything because you're from Cairo," said Gilliard. "She pretty much explains to the kids that she grew up in Cairo and she knows about tough times and hard times. As long as you give your best and do your best, good things will happen."

Teresa was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2011.