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L E’s Stories – “Even If You’re Incredible, It’s Difficult To Be Unbeatable” – The Legend Of Edwin Moses

Our Bone Daddy has seen many outstanding athletes perform live in a myriad of sports…..from Pele in soccer….to Muhammad Ali in boxing…..to Bobby Morrow in the sprints…..to Bill Russell in basketball….to Earl Campbell in football…..to Nolan Ryan in baseball…..to Gordie Howe in hockey…..to Bjon Borg in tennis….to Mary Lou Retton in gymnastics…..to Doug Russel in swimming….to Eddie Feigner in softball…. to Jimmie Jacobs in handball….along with so many more….but the one athlete who held his “best in the world” position for the longest time was a 400m hurdler in track named Edwin Moses….who wasn’t beaten in a race from August 26, 1977 to June 4, 1987….as Moses won every single 400m hurdles race he contested….while adding a second Olympic gold on home soil in Los Angeles in 1984 along the way.  His world record unbeaten streak lasted 9 years, 9 months and 9 days….and during it, he won 122 races of which 109 were finals…..and Bone Daddy got to see him win his 2nd Olympic gold medal live at the Los Angeles Olympics….a memory that rates with seeing Nolan Ryan’s 5000th strikeout against HOF Rickey Henderson…..and Ali winning the Heavyweight Title for the 3rd time against Leon Spinks….so, there is no question about Edwin Moses deserving his story being showcased here at ImaSportsphile….cuz the name alone carries some mighty spectacular memories with the original Sportsphile, our Bone Daddy. 

 

Track & Field – 1976 To 1988 – Sporting Greats Special – Edwin Moses

Edwin Moses is an American former track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400 m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics….who would have won his 3rd gold at the 1980 Moscow Games had it not been for a peanut farmer named President Jimmy Carter…..who proved that in sports “the worst tics are poli-tics” when he banned 465 US Olympic athletes from “chasing their dreams” when he boycotted the 1980 Games.   Between 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races)….while setting the world record in the event four times.                                                                                                           

Track & Field – 1976 To 1988 – Special – Edwin Moses 400m Hurdles Philosophy

 

Moses was born in Dayton, Ohio…..while having accepted an academic scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, he majored in physics and industrial engineering….plus, he competed for the school track team…..and since Morehouse did not have its own track…..so, the team and especially Moses used public high school facilities around the city to train and run.  Initially, Moses competed mostly in the 120-yard hurdles and 440-yard dash…..when before March of 1976, he ran only one 400m hurdles race….but then he began focusing on the event….and that is when he made remarkable progress. With his height of 6’2″, Moses’ trademark technique was to take a consistent 13 steps between each of the hurdles…..while pulling away in the second half of the race…..as his rivals often took 15 strides or changed their stride pattern. That year, he qualified for the U.S. team for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal…..when in his first international competition, Moses won the gold medal ahead of teammate Mike Shine….while setting a world record of 47.63 seconds in the process.                                                    

Olympics – 1976 – Montreal Summer Games – Track & Field Men’s 400m Hurdles – Featuring Gold Medal Winner USA Edwin Moses

 

After breaking his own world record the following year at the Drake Relays…..with a time of 47.45 seconds,….then Moses lost to West Germany’s Harald Schmid on August 26, 1977 in Berlin….which was only his fourth defeat in the 400m hurdles…..when beginning the following week, Moses beat Schmid by 15 metres (49 ft) in Düsseldorf….. and he did not lose another race for nine years, nine months and nine days.  Moses qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team but was unable to compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott…..but he did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes…..which was another “weak act” by President Carter….which amounted to the excitement of “kissing your sister”.                                                                                                   

Olympics – 1984 – Los Angeles Games – Track & Field Men’s 400m Hurdles Finals – Featuring Gold Medal Winner USA Edwin Moses

Then, at the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles, Moses was selected to recite the Olympic Oath….but forgot the text during his presentation…..however, that didn’t stop him from winning  his second Olympic gold medal…..while extending his undefeated streak….which would continue until American Danny Harris beat Moses in Madrid on June 4, 1987.  By then, Moses had won 122 consecutive races, set the world record two more times, won three World Cup titles, a World Championship gold, as well as his two Olympic gold medals. After the loss to Harris, he went on to win 10 more races in a row, collecting his second world gold in Rome in August of the same year….then at the 1988 Seoul Olympics,  Moses would finish third in the final 400m hurdles race of his career.                                                                                               

Olympics – 1988 – Seoul Summer Games – Track & Field Men’s 400m Hurdles – Featuring USA Danny Harris Gold Winner + USA Edwin Moses Bronze In His Final Race

 

During the middle of Edwin Moses’ incredible unbeaten streak in 1979, he took a leave of absence from his job with General Dynamics to devote himself to running full-time…..when 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.

 

Track & Field – 1977 – World Cup Men’s 400m Hurdles – Featuring USA Edwin Moses

Despite the U.S. led boycott that kept him from competing at the summer games in Moscow, Moses was the 1980 Track & Field News Athlete of the Year…..when 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….which was the same year he took the Athlete’s Oath for the 1984 Summer Olympics…..and 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.                                                                                                    

Track & Field – 1976 To 1988 – World Record Holder Profile – Edwin Moses In The 400m Hurdles

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.  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. 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”. 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.                                                                                                                                    

Track & Field – 1976 To 1988 – Special Interview – The Master’s Diary With Edwin Moses                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, to our Bone Daddy…..we here at ImaSportsphile want to thank you for all of the stories about your incredible mission of setting a new Olympic fan record of seeing a live event of everyone of the 26 sports competed at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics….a record that can ONLY be TIED….which can NEVER BE BROKEN….and especially for the joy that seeing Edwin Moses continue his incredible unbeaten string of 122 races from 1977 to 1987….for the truth be known….this is why I wrote this story….cuz it brought such great joy to our original Sportsphile….our Bone Daddy.                                                                                             

Track & Field – 1988 – U S Olympic Trials – Men’s 400m Hurdles Semifinals + Finals – Featuring Edwin Moses

 

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

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