ON THIS DAY: Edwin Moses Makes NCAA DIII History

Believe it or not, Edwin Moses won an Olympic gold medal before his first NCAA title.

Moses also set the world record in the Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles prior to cementing his name atop the NCAA Division III all-time chart in the same event for years to come.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Records & Lists

Truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction.

Both of those aforementioned moments happened at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games when Moses, then a sophomore at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, delivered a sublime performance at the first international meet of his career. Moses won the gold medal by more than a full second over fellow American Michael Shine when he broke the tape in 47.63.

Due to the Olympic Games occurring outside of the parameters of the collegiate season, Moses’ mark wouldn’t count as either the collegiate record or NCAA Division III record, even though it was far superior to both: Quentin Wheeler of San Diego State held the collegiate record at the time of 48.55; Gene Taylor of Occidental owned the NCAA DIII best of 51.0h.

Well, after what Moses did the previous year in Montreal, it was just a matter of time until one or both of those standards fell at his feet during the ensuing outdoor season.

Moses never did get the collegiate record, but he initially broke the NCAA DIII record on March 24, 1977 when he went 49.1h at a meet in Gainesville, Florida. He lowered that to 48.9h the following month in Knoxville, Tennessee, before turning his attention to the inaugural Jamaica International Invitational Track & Field Meet on May 13.

It was in Kingston, where Moses won both the 110 Meter Hurdles and 400 Meter Hurdles in NCAA DIII record-setting times. Moses finished the shorter version in 13.5h, which was the top mark on the chart until 2012, while the longer version remains the NCAA DIII record at 48.64.

Moses won the NCAA title later that month and would go on to to have a decorated professional career, headlined by lowering the world record to 47.02 six years later – which stood until Kevin Young became the first man to break 47 seconds in the event in 1992 – and capturing two more Olympic medals, including another gold in 1984.