The Associated Press is reporting that Milt Campbell, who became the first African-American to win the Olympic decathlon in 1956 and went on to play pro football and become a motivational speaker, has died, his family said. Linda Rusch, Campbell’s partner of 13 years, said the trailblazer died Friday at his home in Gainesville, GA after fighting prostate cancer for a decade. The article states:
A native of Plainfield, N.J., Campbell was a rising high school senior when he won the silver medal in the decathlon at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, finishing second to Bob Mathias. The Americans swept the decathlon that year. Four years later, Campbell won gold at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Campbell, who attended Indiana University, was drafted in 1957 by the Cleveland Browns, where he played one season in the same backfield as Jim Brown. Campbell then played for various teams in the Canadian Football League until his football career in 1964.
Campbell was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1999 and was honored this year by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In 2000, the New Jersey Sportswriters Association named Campbell its New Jersey Athlete of the Century.
In June, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame along with nine others, including actor Michael Douglas, author Joyce Carol Oates and the late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara.
Milt Campbell was 78.
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