Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Edwin Moses in hurdle action
Track & Field
UNITED STATES - April 30, 1084
Photos by Carl Iwasaki/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images


Who ever thought that the kid in grade school who built volcanoes, dissected frogs, collected fossils and launched homemade rockets would become one of the most distinguished track athletes in history?
Even in high school, the serious youngster himself had no illusions of grandeur. "I had no ambitions to be an Olympic track star or any kind of athlete," he said. But that's what happened to the analytical and practical Edwin Moses, the possessor of one bachelor's of science degree in physics, one master's in business administration, two Olympic gold medals and 107 consecutive victories in 400-meter hurdles finals.
This athletic marvel enjoyed a run of nine years, nine months and nine days between losses. Four times he broke the world record. Neither his competitors nor his dreams could keep up with his performances. Bounding over the 10 three-foot hurdles, taking an unprecedented 13 steps between hurdles instead of the usual 14, he was a remarkable combination of speed, grace and stamina.....
(Larry Schwartz, Special to, Moses made winning look easy,


From fotocommunity

On the Cover: Edwin Moses, Track and Field
Photographed by Trevor Jones

Mostly, Moses competed in the 110-meter high hurdles, 400 meters, and 4 x 100 relays. Just once before late March 1976 did he enter a 400-hurdles race. But once he started with the event, he made unbelievable advancement with his huge and economical 9-foot-9 stride and qualified for the Olympics.
As a 20-year-old, unknown scholar-athlete from a renowned black college, he burst upon the international scene at the Montreal Olympics. Not only did Moses win the gold medal in his first international meet, he set a world record of 47.64 seconds, breaking John Akii-Bua's mark of 47.82. His eight-meter victory over Mike Shine was the largest winning margin in the event in the Olympics.
"Edwin and I were ships passing in the night," Shine said.
(Larry Schwartz, Special to, Moses made winning look easy,

Edwin Moses and Michael Shine
Montreal Olympic, 1976

Born Aug. 31, 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, as the second of three sons, Edwin began his athletic career in age group competitions and later in high school in the 180-yard low hurdles and 440-yard dash. Because of his parents' influence on him as educators, he accepted an academic scholarship in engineering from Morehouse College rather than an athletic scholarship elsewhere.....
Although there was no track at Morehouse, Moses trained for the 1976 Olympic trials using the public high school facilities around Atlanta. He subsequently won the trials in the 400m hurdles with an American record of 48.30 seconds, making his first Olympic team. At the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, he became the Olympic champion, bettering the Olympic and world records with a time of 47.63 seconds. For the next decade he dominated the hurdles, accumulating the most amazing string of consecutive victories ever amassed by an individual athlete....
Moses continued to perform brilliantly in track and field. In 1983, he won his first world title at the first World Championships at Helsinki, Finland. One of the most shining moments of his career came one year later at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when he was chosen to recite the Athletes' Oath during opening ceremonies.....
(Major Taylor Association, Inc.)

Edwin Moses in the 1984 Olympics
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images

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.).....
(Kyle York, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Published July 7, 2005, The Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press)
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 0.13 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.....
(Kyle York, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Published July 7, 2005, The Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press)
Struggling to put in perspective the statistical esoterica that have grown up around Edwin Moses and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles is actually no more difficult than, say, beating Moses in the race. Of course nobody has accomplished that in nearly seven years.....
When Moses won his gold medal in the 1976 Olympics he was a shy, unapproachable college kid—he didn't say much but used words such as "extrapolate." He wore a modified Afro and dark glasses and a rawhide thong necklace—gasp! What could that mean? .....
Moses not only never loses, he never comes close to losing. David Patrick ran his best race against Moses in Luxembourg and finished 0.06 of a second back. "I think Edwin must have been sick that particular day," says Patrick. Schmid, Moses's erstwhile rival from West Germany and the last man to beat him—Berlin, Aug. 26, 1977; they should build a monument on the site—hasn't come near him since. Schmid once gave in on a Swiss TV talk show, saying, "What do you expect of me? I'll never beat this guy.".....


Plainly, his quiet personality and the fact that his surpassing excellence is contained within a tiny bubble within only a slightly larger bubble in the overall American sporting scheme are factors contributing to his semianonymity on the domestic front. What may be more important is that the 400H—once dubbed "the man-killer," so treacherous a physical undertaking it was—is considered by Moses a mere "hobby—arts and crafts, sport and science." That he was gifted with the perfect body for it, a probing mind to take apart the event and explore the thing to its finite limits, and the work ethic to demolish all previous human limitations—"Edwin is hurdling, body and soul," says his brother Irving Jr.—all this has added to the overall impression that what Moses does is easy. Thus, not very earthshaking. And yet that may be the ultimate measure of his greatness.

Career Highlights:
• PR: 47.02
• Broke World Record 4 times:
• 1976: 47.64
• 1977: 47.45
• 1980: 47.13
• 1983: 47.02
• Broke American Record 6 times:
• 1976: 48.30
• 1976: 48.29
• 1976: 47.64
• 1977: 47.45
• 1980: 47.13
• 1983: 47.02
• Olympic Gold Medal, 1976
• 47.63 (WR)
• Olympic Gold Medal, 1984
• 47.75
• Olympic Bronze Medal, 1988
• 47.56
• World Champion, 1983
• 47.50
• World Champion, 1987
• 47.46
• World Cup Champion, 1977
• 47.58
• World Cup Champion, 1979
• 47.53
• World Cup Champion, 1981
• 47.37
• U.S. National Champion
• 1977: 47.45 WR
• 1979: 47.89
• 1981: 47.59
• 1983: 47.84
• 1987: 47.99

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