Edwin Moses, an Olympic Champion, sports administrator, diplomat and businessman, is one of the most respected and recognised athletes of our time. He has resolutely served and promoted the Olympic movement, and fostered the development of “drug-free” sports and the rights of amateur athletes at all levels. His experience as a distinguished Olympic champion and world record holder has earned him the esteem of the international sports community.
Moses, a physicist from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, is known for utilising the applied sciences to perfect the technical aspects of his athletic performance in his event, the 400 meter hurdles. This knowledge also enabled him to create, implement and administer the world’s most stringent random and out-of-competition testing systems for performance enhancing drugs in sports.
Born 31st August 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, the second of three sons, Moses began his athletic career in age group competitions and later in high school in the 180 yard low hurdles and 440 yard dash. Guided by his parents’ influence on him as educators, he accepted an academic scholarship in engineering from Morehouse College rather than an athletic scholarship elsewhere.
Although there was no track at Morehouse College, Moses trained for the 1976 Olympic trials using the public high school facilities around Atlanta. He subsequently won the trials in the 400 meter hurdles with an American record of 48.30 seconds, making his first Olympic team. At the summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, he became the Olympic Champion, bettering the Olympic and World Records with a time of 47.63 seconds. For the next decade he dominated the hurdles accumulating the most amazing string of consecutive victories ever amassed by an individual athlete. Over a period of nine years, nine months and nine days, from August 1977 until May 1987, Moses collected 122 straight victories, 107 of these were finals; this winning streak has remained unbeaten and stands in the Guinness Book of Records to this date.
The United States boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow, thereby denying Moses a second golden opportunity. However, he demonstrated his excellent form in Milan, Italy when he smashed his World Record of 1977 with a new record time of 47.13 seconds. Three years later he lowered the mark once again on his 29th birthday in Koblenz, West Germany, with his time of 47.02. This record remained unbroken until 1992.
Moses took a leave of absence from his engineering position at General Dynamics in 1979, to pursue athletics full-time. On the heels of the passing of the U.S. Amateur Sports Act in Congress in 1978, he set out to improve training conditions and financial support mechanisms from American athletes. At the time, Soviet, East German and other Eastern block athletes were known to be heavily financed by their governments.
Determined to find a method through which U.S. athletes could generate financial support to offset training expenses and earn some income, Moses helped to persuade the Athletics Congress to advocate the liberalisation of the international and Olympic eligibility rules by adopting a revolutionary concept to provide revenue through an Athletes Trust Fund programme. The Trust Fund would enable athletes to create accounts administered by their respective sport bodies, within which government or privately supplied stipends, direct payments and monies derived from commercial endorsements could be deposited and periodically drawn from by an athlete for training and other expenses without jeopardising their Olympic eligibility.
Moses was asked to provide a presentation to Mr Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, which was both persuasive and innovative. Mr Samaranch and the IOC commission then ratified the concept in late 1981. The Trust Fund is currently the basis of many Olympic athlete subsistence, stipend and corporate support programmes, including the USOC’s well-funded Direct Athlete Assistance Programmes.
Meanwhile, Moses continued to perform brilliantly in Track and Field. In 1983, he won his first World title at the first World Championships at Helsinki, Finland. One of the accolade moments of his career came one year later at the Olympic Games of Los Angeles when he was chosen to recite the Athletes’ Oath during opening ceremonies. A few days later, he reaffirmed his unparalleled sportsmanship by winning his second Olympic Gold Medal.
As a sports administrator, Moses is best known for his skilful and courageous directives in the development of policies against the use of performance enhancing drugs. He recognised the disastrous affects that rampant use of these drugs by athletes, could cast upon the sport of Track and Field. He also feared that continued, unchecked steroid abuse would eventually dismantle the fabric of International sports. In 1993, he decided to make the first major public challenge in the assault against performance enhancing drugs in sports, together with a few other dedicatedly pure Track and Field athletes, who became pioneers in the development, administration and implementation of the sport’s world’s most stringent random in-competition drug testing systems.
Between the years of 1983 and 1989, as an athlete member of The Athletics Congress, Moses continually monitored the progress and the results of the in-competition random testing programme. Although immersed in both national and international committee work by 1986, he found time to prepare himself for a bronze medal performance at the 1989 Seoul, Korea Olympic Games.
In December 1989, convinced that a small minority of athletes had developed sophisticated methods to escape normal in-competition testing procedures, fortified with the support of athletes, physicians and expert scientists world-wide, created and designed amateur sport’s first random out-of-competition drug testing programme.
With the assistance of some of the United States’ esteemed legal scholars and overwhelming support from TAC, Moses and his colleagues successfully legislated and implemented testing under the unprecedented programme. He further successfully nurtured the new testing programme through its formative period, which continues to operate successfully to date. Many believe the deterrent effect of the out-of-competition testing program has significantly contributed to a decrease in the use of steroids and other performance enhancing methods in sports.
Moses has also worked with; the Special Olympics, Montana State Games, Goodwill Games and the USOC’S own Olympic Festival. In addition, he has served on the USOC with a delegation that lobbied U.S. Congressmen and Senators to support efforts to include a “tax check-off” on the Federal Income Tax form and on issues relating to the Unrelated Business Income Tax provisions in current legislation.
Selected as an athlete representative, Moses accompanied the IOC Commission on Apartheid and Olympism, which travelled to Johannesburg and Cape Town prior to the return of South Africa to the Olympic Family, under the leadership of the Honourable Judge Keba Mbaye of Senegal and Francois Carrard, Director of the IOC.
In spring of 1994, Moses received a Masters in Business Administration in Business Administration in Business Management from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He was also a founding partner in the Platinum Group, a management partnership, which represents world-class athletes in their business endeavours. He served as a member of the President’s Circle, an advisory group, which advises the President of the National Academy of Sciences on scientific, economic and environmental policy. In May of 1993, he was named by the White House to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships as a commissioner and selector of applicants for the White House Fellowship Programme. In addition, he served as a member of the National Criminal Justice Commission and has been elected by the Athletes’ Advisory Council to the Executive Committee of the USOC. He received the ultimate honour bestowed by his sport when he was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame on 3rd December 1994.
Moses worked as a financial Consultant with The Robinson-Humphrey Company, Inc., an investment banking firm and subsidiary of Smith Barney Inc., which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, site of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
In 2000, he was elected by his fellow members to become the Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a position which he still holds.
The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of 45 of the greatest living sporting legends from sports as diverse as football, tennis, athletics, skateboarding and motor racing. All the members of the Academy share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and improve the lives of young people around the world.
During the February 2008 Laureus Awards hosted by President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg, Russia; Moses, Sean Fitzpatrick (Rugby), Steve Waugh (Cricket) and Marcel Desailly (Football), entered a televised debate on CNN television relating to drugs and racism in sport, the question of Darfur and its relation to the Bejing Olympics in 2008.
In May 2008, Edwin as the Honorary Chairman of the Major Taylor Association along with its members celebrated the more than 100 year old legacy of Seven-time World Champion cyclist Marshall W. ‘Major’ Taylor in Wooster Massachusetts. Taylor, an African-American competing in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was memorialised with perhaps the most beautiful and elegant statue made in honour of a sports legend in America
Moses is also a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor; the highest civilian award given to American citizens by the US Congress for his and the 1980 US Olympic Team personal sacrifice upon being forced to boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia.