We mourn the loss of a historic figure in the life of sports (especially the Olympics) as we hear about the passing of Milt Campbell, who was the first African-American decathlon gold-metal recipient of the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia.
Campbell’s athletic talents started while he was in high school when he got involved in track (as well as swimming). During high school, Campbell secured a place in the 1952 Olympics for the decathlon event. During the 1952 Olympics, Campbell did not win; however, he did come pretty close with a silver medal. Four years later in the 1956 Olympics, Campbell achieved victory by winning the gold medal for the decathlon event. This made Campbell the first African-American winner for the decathlon.
In 1957, a year after his success, Campbell was drafted for the Cleveland Browns football team, later playing for the Montreal Alouettes until he retired from football in 1964.
Earlier this year, Campbell was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame (his home state).
On Friday, November 2nd, 2012, Milt Campbell died at the age of 78. His long-time partner Linda Rusch reported to the Associated Press that Campbell had been fighting prostate cancer for quite a long time.
Various fans of Campbell’s talent in the Twitterverse have been posting their respects:
on a sad note,RIP Milt Campbell. Thanks for all the future olympians!
Milt Campbell, the first African American Olympic medalist in the decathelon is a true a hero. He deserves more recognition than he recieved
My prayers for Milt Campbell who died, a black Olympian Gold Medalists 1956, and my roommate in !952 when traveling in Finland. Loved him!