Eddie Tolan

Eddie Tolan (actually: Thomas Edward Tolan, born September 29, 1908 in Denver, Colorado; † January 31, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan) was an American sprinter. He was in 1932 the first black Olympic champion in the 100 -meter run and was known as The Midnight Express.


In his youth, Tolan was an excellent American football player. When he played in the team of Cass Tech High School in Detroit, he won the championship of the State of Michigan and so showed good performances that he was delivered from seven different universities a place. He chose the University of Michigan, where, however, due to its small body size (1.70 m) doubt as to his suitability for this sport were loud. So he switched to athletics. His career lasted four years.

As a student at the University of Michigan presented Tolan on 25 May 1929 in Evanston, 9.5 seconds a world record for the 100 yards on. In the same year he exhibited at sports festivals in Europe several times a world record of 10.4 seconds in the 100 -meter run.

1932 Tolan won the title of U.S. champion of the sprint distances. Although he was defeated at the Olympic Trials fighting, the so-called Trials, his teammate Ralph Metcalfe, Tolan is qualified for the 100-meter and 200 - meter race of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. There succeeded Tolan, to turn the tables, and he won both sprints with Olympic record.

Neither Tolan yet Metcalfe were set up for the 4 x 100 - meter relay. Nevertheless, the U.S. won relay gold in world record time. After games, Tolan moved largely withdrew from the sport and occurred only sporadically on in professional racing.

After his playing career Tolan worked for a short time as a vaudeville actor. He then worked at the registration authority of Wayne County, as a coach at Murray Wright High School and finally as a school teacher.

Tolan died on 31 January 1967 at the age of 58 of a heart attack.