Black Excellence: A History Of Black Olympians

The Olympics bring together the best and brightest athletes from all over the world every four years. Originating in ancient Greece, there’s a lot of history, including the history of Black Olympians. There is a great long list of history made over the last century, even over the last decade. Here’s a look at the Black athletes who paved the way and continue to break barriers.

George Coleman Poage

George Coleman Poage overcame great racial adversity to be a part of the third-ever Olympic games in St. Louis in 1904, in which many of the events were segregated. Poage competed in the 220-yard and 440-yard hurdles and won a bronze medal in each, the first African-American to win a medal in the Olympic Games.

(photo courtesy of Ohio State Buckeyes)

(photo courtesy of Ohio State Buckeyes)

Jesse Owens
Black American sprinter and athlete Jesse (James Cleveland) Owens (1913–1980) won four gold medals for