Little Known Black History Fact: Milt Campbell

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  • Milt Campbell was the first African-American to win the Olympic decathlon. Campbell took home the gold in the 1956 Australian games. This was after he had taken home the silver in the 1952 games. That same year Campbell was named high school player of the year, placing all-American in swimming and karate.

    Remarkably, Campbell was hired by the Cleveland Browns in 1957, sparking a seven-year career in professional football. He continued to play with the Canadian Football League until 1964. Thirty years later, Campbell was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. He is also in the Black Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Hall of Fame and was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Campbell was named the New Jersey Athlete of the Century by the New Jersey Sportswriters Association.

    Campbell was diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years ago. He had already lost a son to the disease. The treatments for his illness slowed him down tremendously after an active life of bike riding, tennis and motorcycles. Campbell lost his fight with the disease on Friday, November 2, 2012 at his home in Gainesville, Georgia. He was 78 years old.
     

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