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Milt Campbell, First Black Olympic Decathlon Champion, Dies

By Associated Press | Nov. 04, 2012, 5:24 p.m. (ET)

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Milt Campbell, who became the first black to win the Olympic decathlon in 1956 and went on to play professional football and become a motivational speaker, has died after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 78.

Linda Rusch, Campbell's partner of 13 years, said Campbell died Friday at his home in Gainesville, about 55 miles northwest of Atlanta. She said he had been fighting prostate cancer for a decade.

A native of Plainfield, N.J., Campbell was a rising high school senior when he won the silver medal for the decathlon at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, finishing second to Bob Mathias. Four years later, Campbell won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. 

Campbell is the only athlete in both the National Track and Field and National Swimming halls of fame.

Milt Campbell decathlon