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Thursday, 18 April 2013

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : EDDIE TOLAN AFRICAN AMERICAN TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE : OLYMPIC RECORD HOLDER IN 100 AND 200 METERS : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "




































Thomas Edward "Eddie" Tolan (September 29, 1908 – January 30/31, 1967), nicknamed the "Midnight Express", was an American track and field athlete who compete in the Sprints. He set world records in the 100 yard dash and 100 meters event and Olympic records in the 100 meters and 200 meters events. He was the first non Euro-American to receive the title of the "world's fastest human" after winning gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters events at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In March 1935, Tolan won the 75, 100 and 220 yard events at the World Professional Sprint Championships in Melbourne, Australia to become the first man to win both the amateur and professional world sprint championships. In his full career as a sprinter, Tolan won 300 races and lost only 7.

Tolan was born in Denver, Colorado, one of four children. Tolan's father was Thomas Tolan. The family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when Tolan was young, and moved again to Detroit, Michigan in 1924, when Tolan was 15 years old. Tolan later recalled, "My father read about better opportunities for Negroes here, so he packed up Mom and the four kids and we came here."
Tolan attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit where he was an outstanding football player and sprinter. While at Cass Tech, Tolan set state records in the 100 and 220 yard dashes. While still in high school, Tolan ran the 100 yard dash in 9.8 seconds and the 220 yard dash in 21.5 seconds. At age of 16, Tolan was a member of a two-man team from Cass Tech that won the 1925 National Interscholastic indoor meet in Chicago. He won his first sprint double at the state meet as a sophomore, and in 1927 he won the 100 and 220 yard dashes at the National Interscholastic Championship at Soldier Field in Chicago. Despite his accomplishments as a sprinter, Tolan's first love was football, and he often said "the six touchdowns he scored in one game as a 131-pound quarterback at Detroit’s Cass Tech High School was his greatest thrill, rather than his double win in the Olympics."