Hall of Fame

Lee Calhoun

Track and Field

Olympian in Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, Rome 1960 Olympic Games

Born:
February 23, 1933
Birthplace:
Laurel, Mississippi
Died:
June 21, 1989
College:
North Carolina Central College

hall of fame

Lee Calhoun

Track and Field

Olympian in Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, Rome 1960 Olympic Games

Born:
February 23, 1933
Birthplace:
Laurel, Mississippi
Died:
June 21, 1989
College:
North Carolina Central College
Photo courtesy Crawford Family U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Archives, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee
Lee Calhoun was the first male athlete to win consecutive Olympics gold medals in the 110-meter hurdles, winning photo finishes at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games and Rome 1960 Olympic Games.
SHARE

Lee Calhoun’s first Olympic gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles was somewhat of a surprise.

At the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, Calhoun ran nearly a full second faster than his time leading up to The Olympics. At the finish line, Calhoun lunged his shoulders forward – a move he had learned from teammate and race favorite Jack Davis – and nipped Davis in a photo finish. Both runners were listed with a time of 13.5 seconds.

Four years later, Calhoun was back on the track at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games and again stood atop the podium recognizing the 110-meter hurdles gold medalist. This time, though, the route was much different.

In 1958, Calhoun had his amateur status suspended after appearing on a television game show, Bride and Groom. But Calhoun’s suspension was rescinded and this time, he entered The Olympics as a favorite, having set a world record with a time of 13.2 seconds in a tuneup race.

Once again, Calhoun found himself in a tight race with a teammate, but he managed to edge Willie May at the finish line, with both runners finishing in 13.8 seconds.

Calhoun was the first male athlete ever to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 110 hurdles.

Calhoun went on to a collegiate coaching career, with positions at Grambling State University, Yale University and Western Illinois University, and was an assistant coach on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team.

Calhoun passed away in 1989. He was 56.



MEDAL RESULTS
1956 Melbourne 110m Hurdles Gold
1960 Rome 110m Hurdles Gold
RELATED GALLERY
  • Sint excepteur
connect with us
NEXT UP
  • SPORT: 
  • Swimming
  • BORN: 06.29.1985
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
Swimmer Erin Popovich is a three-time Paralympian; 14 of her 19 Paralympic medals were golds. She is a two-time winner of the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
  • SPORT: 
  • Volleyball
  • BORN: 07.30.1977
  • Los Angeles, California
Misty May-Treanor was a college star at indoor volleyball, then successfully transitioned to one of the best beach volleyball careers of all-time, teaming with Kerri Walsh Jennings to win three Olympic gold medals and retiring with a then-record 112 wins.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.06.1944
  • Clarksville, Texas
Tommie Smith's courage to protest for racial equality continues to be remembered throughout the sports landscape.
  • SPORT: 
  • Track and Field
  • BORN: 06.05.1945
  • Harlem, New York
John Carlos and Tommie Smith's protest for racial equality has echoed throughout the sports world since the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games.
Skip to content