The First African Individuals to Win Olympic Medals

By Marie Schulte- Bockum

Because the first Olympic Video games debuted in Athens, Greece in 1896, the gathering of the world’s dominant athletes has turn out to be a world occasion. However with historic discrimination and fewer alternatives for elite coaching, Black athletes confronted immense challenges to compete. Nonetheless, beginning within the early 20th century, African American athletes started competing within the Video games—and shattering information.

Although Olympians like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Simon Biles are family names, there are various African American athletes who broke boundaries within the Winter and Summer season Video games. Beneath are six Black American Olympian pioneers.

1. John Baxter Taylor

John Baxter Taylor, a pupil and runner on the College of Pennsylvania, grew to become Dr. Taylor, a veterinarian, in 1908—the identical summer time he competed within the London Video games. “He had a clean-cut enterprise manner of protecting the bottom, with a size of stride seldom seen right now, which was firmly impressed on one’s thoughts,” wrote the Pittsburgh Courier.

Taylor was the primary African American athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, triumphing within the 1600-meter relay race on the 1908 Video games. Tragically, the damp, chilly local weather in London took a toll on the 25-year-old’s physique. Whereas overseas, he developed a case of typhoid-pneumonia so extreme that it proved deadly simply months after the Olympics.


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