Gwen Torrence was born, not without problems, in Decatur, Georgia United States. She attended Columbia High School, then the University of Georgia.
She has won medals at nearly every major athletics competition, including the Summer Olympics, Outdoor & Indoor World Championships, Pan American Games, Goodwill Games, and World University Games.
In her era, Gwen won more Olympic and World Championship medals than any other athlete ever had. Her tally of golds would have improved had she been awarded those in which she had finished second to East German Katrin Krabbe, who later tested positive for clenbuteral.
In 1988, Gwen achieved, on one of those rare occasions in athletics, a tie with Evelyn Ashford in the 55 m race at the U.S. national indoor championships. She also had many battles both on the track and in the press with team-mate Florence Griffith Joyner.
In the 200 m at the 1995 World Championships, she was disqualified after convincingly beating the field, for stepping out of her lane. This left her idol, Merlene Ottey, to be promoted to first place.
After retiring from athletics, Gwen became a hairdresser and lives with her children, a son named Manley and a daughter named E'mon.