Edwin Moses (b. 1955)
Edwin Moses, winner of two Olympic gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles,
Edwin Corely Moses was born on August 31, 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, the second of three sons to parents who were both educators. He was a serious student, even foregoing potential athletic scholarships to college in favor of attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 1978. He later earned his master's degree in business administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Although Moses initially played both basketball and football in high school, he soon turned to and excelled in gymnastics and track. While at Morehouse, which had a track team but no track of its own, he used public high school facilities in Atlanta to train for the 1976 Olympic trials. He won trials in the 400-meter hurdles, setting a national record of 48.3 seconds, and made his first Olympic team.
In his first international competition, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, Moses won gold in the 400-meter hurdles, setting Olympic and world records with a time of 47.63 seconds. He was denied the opportunity to defend his gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia, when U.S. president Jimmy Carter ordered a U.S. boycott of the games. During the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California, Moses again won the gold medal, becoming only the second man to win two gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles. (American Glenn Davis was the first, winning gold in 1956 and 1960.)
From August 1977 to May 1987, Moses won 122 consecutive races in his event. In June 1987 fellow American Danny Harris, who finished second in 400-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympics, beat Moses by .13 seconds to end the winning streak.
In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Moses ran his fastest Olympic final but finished third to take the bronze medal. Moses retired from track afterward but took up bobsledding and won the bronze for two-man teams in a 1990 World Cup race in Germany.
Moses began speaking out
Moses has also worked with the Special Olympics, the Goodwill Games, and the U.S. Olympic Committee's Olympic Festival. He has served on numerous boards and committees dedicated to improving amateur athletics and has volunteered his time to such nonprofit organizations as the United Negro College Fund and the United Nations Children's Fund, known as UNICEF. He is also a founding partner of the Platinum Group, an organization that helps athletes with business ventures. Moses was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year he received his degree from Pepperdine University.
In August 2003, on his forty-eighth birthday, Moses
Moses continues to promote athletics for people of all ages and travels to such countries as Australia, India, and South Africa to offer exhibitions and clinics for Laureus World Sports Academy, an international program that provides young people with sports opportunities. As chairman of Laureus, Moses also fundraises for its programs. Additionally, he is a consultant for Salomon Smith Barney. From 1982 to 1991 Moses was married to Myrella Bordt. He has one son.
Edwin Moses, Astonishment of Heart (New York: Macmillan, 1984).
Kyle York, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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