Medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for the Flag of the United States.svg.png United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1956 Melbourne Decathlon
Silver 1952 Helsinki Decathlon

Milton Gray Campbell (December 9, 1933 – November 2, 2012[1]) was an American decathlete of the 1950s. In 1956, he became the first African American to win the gold medal in the decathlon of the Summer Olympic Games.[citation needed]

Campbell was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. At Plainfield High School he competed in track and swimming.[2] He then enrolled at the Indiana University (Bloomington), where he played football and track.[3] While a student at Plainfield High School, Campbell won a place on the 1952 Olympic team in the decathlon. Although just 18 years old, Campbell finished second to Bob Mathias in the decathlon.[citation needed]

Campbell set New Jersey state records in the high and low hurdles and in the high jump, and scored 140 points as fullback in football. He was inducted into the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1997.[3]

In 1956 at Melbourne, Campbell won the gold medal. He narrowly missed a world record.

Campbell was also an excellent swimmer as a youth. An all around athlete, Campbell was drafted by the NFL Cleveland Browns in 1957 and played one season in the same backfield as Jim Brown.[4] He then played for several years in the Canadian Football League, ending his football career in 1964.

In 2008, a degree of Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, was conferred upon him by Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey.[citation needed]

In June 2012, Campbell was voted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[4] He died, aged 78, in Gainesville, Georgia, after fighting prostate cancer for a decade.


  1. Milt Campbell, the greatest athlete in New Jersey history, dies at 78
  2. "CAMPBELL CAPTURES TWO NEWARK EVENTS", The New York Times, February 28, 1953. Accessed November 6, 2007. "Milt Campbell, Plainfield High School star, won the first two events in the twenty-ninth Newark Athletic Club track and field championships today."
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hall of Fame / Class of 1997, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed August 26, 2008.
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named foxnews1
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