by Seyi Lawal
“Before you can win, before you can compete, you first have to be included,” says the voice of the narrator in the opening scenes of the following video. The video is a special look at the journey of John Baxter Taylor, the first African American to win a Gold Medal in the 1908 Olympics in London.
Taylor was a member of the gold medal medley relay team at the Games. He ran the third leg, performing the 400 meters. He followed William Hamilton and Nate Cartmell and was followed by Mel Sheppard.
He reached the finals in the men’s 400 metres race, winning his preliminary heat with a time of 50.8 seconds and his semifinal with 49.8 seconds. He finished in last place out of the four runners during the first running of the race. The race was, however, ordered to be repeated after teammate John Carpenter was disqualified after being accused of obstructing British runner Wyndham Halswelle. Taylor and fellow American William Robbins made history for refusing to compete in the second final in protest of Carpenter’s disqualification.
Check out the video below.