How Edwin Moses Trained for Olympic Gold

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Every time Edwin Moses placed his feet in the blocks from 1977 to 1987, he won. Moses, arguably the best hurdler ever, won 122 races, including 107 consecutive finals, and set world records in the 400-meter hurdles four times within that 10 year span. His journey to this untouchable level was marked by personal innovation and determination, proving that elite coaching and state-of-the-art facilities are not required for supreme athletic success.

While he excelled at T&F in high school, Moses was known more as a scholar than a jock. Recognition came in the form of academic scholarships, and he accepted one to study physics and engineering at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Having always maintained his passion for the track, Moses decided to train for the 1976 Olympic trials. But since Morehouse didn't have a track, Moses had to hop fences to sneak onto the tracks of local high schools. Training in solitude, he thought about different ways to shave seconds off his race time, which resulted in his studies of German and Russian biomechanics.

Moses' research, combined with his personal experiments, produced a huge breakthrough. While fatigue forced the rest of the hurdling world to take 14 steps between the last few hurdles, Moses found a way to take only 13 steps between each hurdle throughout the entire 400-meter race. Using this secret weapon, he qualified for the Olympics. And although it was his first international meet, he took home the gold in Montreal and set a new world record of 47.64 seconds in the so-called "man killer" event.

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