John B. Taylor

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Competed in Olympic Games (non-medal events)
Full nameJohn Baxter•Taylor, Jr.
Used nameJohn B.•Taylor
Born3 November 1882 in Washington, District of Columbia (USA)
Died2 December 1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
Measurements181 cm / 74 kg
AffiliationsI-AAC, Queens, New York (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


John Taylor was the first black Olympic gold medalist. While attending Penn he won three IC4A 440y titles, and his winning times in 1904 (49.2) and 1907 (48.8) were the fastest times recorded in the world in those years. He was also the AAU champion on 1907. Taylor was a favorite at the 1908 Olympics in the 400m, but ran a poor race. The race, however, was marked by an incident involving Britain’s Wyndham Halswelle and America’s John Carpenter. It was claimed that Carpenter forced Halswelle to run wide in the stretch run, and he was disqualified and the race ordered rerun. The Americans were aghast at this decision because they felt no foul was committed and they including Taylor, did not run in the second final. Just before leaving for London, Taylor had earned a degree in veterinary medicine from Penn and planned to open a practice when he returned. But before the year was out, Taylor died of typhoid fever.

Personal Best: 440y – 48.2 (1908).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John B. Taylor
880 yards, Boys (Olympic (non-medal)) 3
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics USA John B. Taylor
400 metres, Men (Olympic) AC r3/3
1,600 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold