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40 greatest female athletes: Gail Devers

5/14/2012
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years

Forget her colorful fingernails. Gail Devers' true signature was breaking the hearts of her fiercest rivals.

Devers, one of the greatest sprinters in Olympic history and No. 30 in ESPN's countdown, certainly had a flair for the dramatic.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Devers won gold in the 100 meters by beating Jamaica's Juliet Cuthbert in a photo finish. The next year, at the world championships, she won the 100 after besting Cuthbert's Jamaican compatriot, Merlene Ottey, in another photo finish. And at the 1996 Atlanta Games, Devers did it again, crossing the line in exactly the same time as Ottey, but winning gold thanks to the help of a high-speed camera.

"She's the person who never stops trying," said Greece's Voula Patoulidou, the gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles in Barcelona.

Read the complete story from espnW here.

Earlier in this series:

No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia

No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone

No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton

No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato

No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly

No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi

No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman

No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach

No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher

No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit