Herb Douglas, the oldest living U.S. Olympic medalist and a trailblazer in the world of sports, passed away on Saturday at the age of 101.
He was widely celebrated for winning the bronze medal in the long jump at the 1948 summer games in London, an achievement that brought pride and joy to his hometown of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh, where Douglas had attended as a student-athlete and served as a trustee, announced his passing in a statement on Monday.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher praised Douglas as a “champion of others” who had left an “indelible mark on this world.”
Douglas was born in the Pittsburgh area on March 9, 1922, and attended Xavier University in New Orleans before returning to his hometown to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh in 1945.
He made history as the first African American to play football for the Panthers, but it was his prowess as a track and field athlete that earned him national recognition.
At Pitt, Douglas won four intercollegiate championships in the long jump and another in the 100-yard dash.
He also claimed three AAU titles in the long jump and secured a spot on the 1948 U.S. Olympic team after finishing as a runner-up in the Olympic trials.
In London, he leaped to a distance of 24-feet-9 inches to win the bronze medal in the long jump.
Douglas went on to have a successful career in business and was known for his philanthropic work and mentorship of young athletes.
He was inducted into the inaugural Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2018, a testament to his enduring impact on the university and the world of sports.
In a statement, Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke praised Douglas as a “remarkable” and “inspiring” figure who had made a lasting impact on those around him. She announced that the university’s future indoor track would be named in his honor, ensuring that his legacy would continue to inspire future generations of Pitt student-athletes.
Herb Douglas Cause of Death
Herb Douglas may have died due to a natural cause as a result of his age. He is survived by his wife, Minerva Douglas, his daughter, and four grandchildren.
His passing has been mourned by many, including those in the sports community who were inspired by his achievements and character.