Olympic Stories

Edwin Moses

Edwin Moses

Edwin Moses is one of the most inspirational athletes of our time. He is an American track and field athlete, and was born on 31st August 1955 in Dayton, Ohio. He is well known for being an Olympic champion.

Moses started out as a physicist from Morehouse College, Atlanta, and he is renowned for using his technical scientific knowledge to aid in his athletic training and performances in his specialist event, which is the 400 metre hurdles. The scientific knowledge that he had also helped him to develop the best drug testing systems to test for drugs in sporting events.

He began his athletic career during high school when he competed with his peers. He went on to compete in the school’s 180 yard hurdles and the 440 yard dash. As his parents wanted him to be well educated, he entered into a scholarship in engineering at Morehouse College.

There was no track at Morehouse College, so Moses did his training using the local public high school’s facilities while he was studying, in preparation for the 1976 Olympic trials. He won the trials for the 400 metre hurdle race and set a new American record with a time of 48.30 seconds. This was his first entry into the Olympics.

The Olympics were held in Montreal, Canada. Moses shot to fame after winning the race as well as breaking both the Olympic and the world records with an astounding time of 47.63 seconds. This was the beginning of a shining career and he was by far the best hurdles athlete for the next 10 years. During that decade he won 122 hurdles races.

At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, he was unable to compete due to a US boycott of the Olympics. But he continued to show his one of a kind talent in Milan when he broke the 2nd world record with a new time of 47.13 seconds. Then in Koblenz, Germany 3 years on he broke his own record once more with an astonishing time of 47.02 seconds. He remained the record holder until 1992.

In 1979 Moses was working as an engineer but left his job to become a full time athlete. He made it his business to improve training conditions and financial support for American athletes when he became Amateur Sports Act in Congress in 1978. This made him even more of a star in the athletic world.

He also helped to develop and implement the Athletes Trust Fund Program in an effort to offset training costs and receive income. The trust fund enabled athletes to create accounts which were to be administered by their sporting bodies. They were then able to receive direct payments to cover training costs without damaging their eligibility for the Olympics.

Throughout the late 80s Moses spent most of his time developing drug testing systems to stop athletes from cheating in races, as he was convinced that some athletes were still managing to slip the net. He was then nominated as a member of the International Olympic Medical Committee Medical Commission.

In 2008, Moses presented the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award to Martin Luther King, Jr., biographer Taylor Branch. In May 2009, the University of Massachusetts Boston awarded Moses an honorary doctorate for his efforts to maintain the integrity of Olympic sports and for his use of sports as a tool for positive social change.

Career Highlights

  • 1976 Montreal Olympics Games - Gold
  • IAAF World Cup – Gold (1977,1979,1981)
  • World Championships – Gold (1983,1987)
  • 1984 LA Olympics – Gold
  • 1986 Goodwill Games – Gold
  • 1988 Seoul Olympic Games – Bronze

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