Milt Campbell, a 1999 inductee into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and the 1956 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, died Friday at his residence in Gainesville, Ga. He was 78.
Campbell will forever be known as the first African American to win a gold medal in the decathlon and one of the greatest all-around male athletes in history. He also won the Olympic silver medal in the decathlon in 1952.
Campbell also excelled in other sports and spent time in both the National Football League and the Canadian Football League as a member of the Cleveland Browns and Montreal Alouettes, respectively. He was also an All-American swimmer in high school, national class in karate and named the world’s greatest high school athlete in 1952.
Excelling at an early age, Campbell placed fifth in the Olympic Trials in the 110-meter hurdles while attending Plainfield High School (N.J.) before making the Olympic team in the decathlon and winning a silver medal behind Bob Mathias.
A graduate of Indiana University, the Newark Star-Ledger selected him as the greatest athlete of the 20th century. He is also a member of the Black Athletes’ Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.