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Wed, 11.25.1903

William Hubbard, an Olympic first

William Hubbard

William Hubbard was born on this date in 1903. He was a Black track and field athlete.

William DeHart Hubbard grew up in the Walnut Hills section of Cincinnati, OH, and was known to be the fastest kid in school.  He was not only athletic but also intelligent, with a four-year scholastic average of 90. Hubbard was part of the Golden Age of Sports and when people started using the word "Superstar." He was the national long-jump champion of the 1920s who was also experienced in the sprints and triple jump.

A University of Michigan graduate, he competed in both the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games. His long-jump victory in the 1924 Paris Olympics made him the first Black athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event. His winning long jump of 24 ft. 5 in. was somewhat overshadowed by the performance of U.S. teammate John Legendre the day before. Legendre, who had failed to make the squad as a long jumper, set a world record with a 25 ft. 5.75 in. leap while competing in the pentathlon.  Hubbard closed out his University of Michigan career in 1925 with a series of spectacular performances.

He tied the world records in the 60- and 100-yard dashes. In his final appearance as a Wolverine, Hubbard broke Legendre's long-jump world record with a leap of 25 ft. 10.85 in. From 1927 to 1941, Hubbard worked for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. After that, in 1942, he was appointed Racial Relations Advisor for the Federal Public Housing Authority that provided better housing for minorities.

In 1957, he was voted into the National Track Hall of Fame. William Hubbard died on June 23, 1976.

Cincinnati Historical Society Library, A guide to 20th Centruy African American Resources
1301 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
Phone: 513-287-7030
Fax: 513-287-7095


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