John Baxter Taylor Jr. was the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. Born in Washington D.C. to former slaves, Taylor was a member of the gold medal-winning men's medley relay team at the 1908 Olympics in London. He ran the third leg, performing the 400 metres. Less than five months after returning from London, Taylor died of typhoid fever on December 2, 1908 at the age of 26. The New York Times called him “the world's greatest negro runner”.