Echols was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, she won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay, alongside team mates Alice Brown, 100 m gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner and 100 m silver medalist Evelyn Ashford. They ran 41.98 seconds. She was also an international long jumper and competed in that event at two Olympics. In Seoul, she failed to qualify for the final, placing 16th with a jump of 6.37m. In 1992, at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, she placed 7th in the final with a jump of 6.62m. She won a silver medal in the sprint relay at the 1993 World Championships, where she ran in the heats but not the final. Her biggest individual success came when she won the 1989 World Cup 100 metres title ahead of Mary Onyali and Reigning World Champion Silke Gladisch-Moller. Her 100 metres personal best of 10.83 was achieved at the 1988 US Olympic Trials.