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George Poage: The First Black American to Medal in the Olympics

February 29, 2024

A Badger to the core, this La Crosse native overcame every obstacle stacked against him: He was the first black American to medal in the modern Olympics. And chances are, you’ve never even heard of him. Despite growing up during the Jim Crow era, George Coleman Poage found academic and athletic success. While a student, he ran track for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later, competed at the 1904 Olympics. The rest is history.

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