Edwin Corley Moses (born 31 August 1955) is an American track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400-meter 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
Born in Dayton, Ohio
, Moses accepted an academic scholarship
to Morehouse College
and 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-meter hurdles race, but once he began focusing on the event he made remarkable progress. His trademark technique was to take 13 steps between all the hurdles (or even 12 between some hurdles), pulling away in the second half of the race as his rivals changed stride pattern. That summer, he qualified for the US team for the 1976 Summer Olympics
. Though it was his first international meet, Moses won the gold medal and set a world record of 47.64 seconds.
After breaking his own world record the following year, Moses lost to Germany's Harald Schmid on 26 August 1977 in Berlin, his fourth defeat in the 400-meter 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, won two World Championships, 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, then finished third in the final 400-meter race of his career at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. As of October 2008, he still holds 26 of the 100 fastest times in this race.
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.
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. male 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 fellow American gymnast Mary Lou Retton
in 1984, the same year he took the Athlete's Oath
for the 1984 Summer Olympics
. In 1999, Moses ranked #47 on ESPN's SportCentury 50 Greatest Athletes
. The city of Dayton also named a street after their hometown hero, Edwin C. Moses Blvd, in Dayton, OH.
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.
Moses achieved his remarkable feats while maintaining a vegetarian diet.
After his retirement from track, Moses competed in a 1990 World Cup bobsled
race at Winterberg
. 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.
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.
Moses has one son, Julian, with German runner Anne Merrem, born on August 29, 1995 in southern California.