Edwin Moses

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Edwin Moses
Moses und Wessfeldt cropped.jpg
Personal information
Born (1955-08-31) August 31, 1955 (age 59)
Dayton, Ohio, USA

Edwin Corley Moses (born August 31, 1955) is an American former track and field athlete, who won gold medals in the 400 m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. Between 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) and set the world record in his event four times. In addition to his running, Moses was also an innovative reformer in the areas of Olympic eligibility and drug testing. In 2000, he was elected the first Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an international service organization of world-class athletes.

122 consecutive wins[edit]

Moses was born in Dayton, Ohio. Having accepted an academic scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, he majored in physics and industrial engineering, while competing for the school track team. Morehouse did not have its own track, so he used public high school facilities around the city to train. Initially, Moses competed mostly in the 120-yard hurdles and 440-yard dash. Before March 1976, he ran only one 400 m hurdles race, but once he began focusing on the event he made remarkable progress. His trademark technique was to take a consistent 13 steps between each of the hurdles, pulling away in the second half of the race as his rivals changed their stride pattern. That summer, he qualified for the US team for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. In his first international meet, Moses won the gold medal and set a world record of 47.63 seconds.

After breaking his own world record the following year, Moses lost to West Germany's Harald Schmid on 26 August 1977 in Berlin, his fourth defeat in the 400 m hurdles. Beginning the next week, when he beat Schmid by 15 meters in Düsseldorf, Moses did not lose another race for nine years, nine months and nine days.

By the time American Danny Harris beat Moses in Madrid on June 4, 1987, Moses had won 122 consecutive races, set the world record two more times, won three World Cup titles, a World Championship gold, and earned his second Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles, where he was selected to take the Olympic Oath. After losing to Harris, he won 10 more races in a row, collecting his second world gold in Rome in August of the same year, and then he finished third in the final 400 m race of his career at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. As of 1 August 2013, he holds 24 of the 98 fastest times in the 400 metres hurdles.[1]

Eligibility reforms[edit]

In 1979 Moses took a leave of absence from his job with General Dynamics to devote himself to running full-time. In the next two years, he was instrumental in reforming international and Olympic eligibility rules. At his urging, an Athletes Trust Fund program was established to allow athletes to benefit from government- or privately supplied stipends, direct payments, and commercial endorsement money without jeopardizing their Olympic eligibility. Moses presented the plan to Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, and the concept was ratified in 1981. This fund is the basis of many Olympic athlete subsistence, stipend and corporate support programs, including the United States Olympic Committee's Direct Athlete Assistance Programs.

Awards[edit]

Despite the Olympic boycott that kept him from competing in Moscow, Moses was the 1980 Track & Field News Athlete of the Year. A year later, he became the first recipient of USA Track & Field's Jesse Owens Award as outstanding U.S. track and field performer for 1981. He received the AAU's James E. Sullivan Award as outstanding amateur athlete in the United States in 1983. He was being named as ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year in 1984. Moses also shared the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year with American gymnast Mary Lou Retton in 1984, the same year he took the Athlete's Oath for the 1984 Summer Olympics. In 1984 his hometown of Dayton renamed Miami Boulevard West and Sunrise Avenue "Edwin C. Moses Boulevard". In 1999, Moses ranked #47 on ESPN's SportCentury 50 Greatest Athletes.

Drug testing[edit]

As a sports administrator, Moses participated in the development of a number of anti-drug policies and helped the track and field community develop one of sports' most stringent random in-competition drug testing systems. In December 1988 he designed and created amateur sports' first random out-of-competition drug testing program.

Other achievements[edit]

After his retirement from track, Moses competed in a 1990 World Cup bobsled race at Winterberg, Germany. He and long-time US Olympian Brian Shimer won the two-man bronze medal.

In 1994 Moses received an MBA from Pepperdine University and was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.[2]

Since election in 2000, Moses has been chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which seeks "to promote and increase participation in sport at every level, and also to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change around the world." [3] Several dozen Olympic and world champion athletes, through the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, work to assist disadvantaged youths around the world.

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.

Personal life[edit]

Moses has one son, Julian, born on August 29, 1995, in southern California.
Moses is a vegetarian, humanitarian and advocate for peace.[4][5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
United Kingdom Sebastian Coe
Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Sebastian Coe
Sporting positions
Preceded by
United States Jim Bolding
Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1976 — 1981
Succeeded by
West Germany Harald Schmid
Preceded by
West Germany Harald Schmid
Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1983 — 1984
Succeeded by
United States Danny Harris
Preceded by
United States Danny Harris
Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1986 — 1987
Succeeded by
United States Andre Phillips