EDITOR’S NOTE: February is Black History Month. In each edition this month, the Mount Olive Tribune is recognizing those who have made significant contributions in various fields.
Lenora “Sam” Jones was the first Black woman from Mount Olive to be inducted into the East Carolina University Basketball Hall of Fame (class of 1993) and was the first Black female from Mount Olive to compete on the United States Olympic handball team.
A three-time Olympian, Jones was named the U.S. Team Handball Federation Athlete-of-the-Year on three occasions. She was the fifth-leading scorer in 1984 with 32 goals and nine assists.
Jones helped guide Team USA to a gold medal at the 1987 Pan Am Games. One year later, she emerged as the second-leading scorer with 35 points in the Olympic Games.
She graduated from Southern Wayne High School.