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Marshall Taylor


Marshall Taylor was an American cyclist. He was the first African American athlete to achieve the level of world champion. He set numerous world records and overcame discrimination. He was born on November 26, 1878. He was given the first bike at age 12. Taylor began performing bicycle stunts for a local bike shop owner. He performed his stunts wearing a soldiers uniform and was given the nickname "Major". Taylor won his first race at the age of 13. After Taylor beat the 1 mile (1.6km) amateur track record, he was barred from the track because of his race. He made a reputation as "The Black Cyclone". Taylor started his professional cycling career at the age of 18. By 1898, he held seven world records and he had placed first in 29 of 49 races in which he competed. In 1899 he won the world championship. In 1902 Taylor participated in a European tour. He won 40 of the 57 races in which he competed there. He also competed in Australia, Europe and New Zealand. He retired at the age of 32. Taylor died at the age of 53 on June 21, 1932 in the charity ward of Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Taylor was buried in a unmarked grave. His body was later exhumed and reburied by a group of former bike racers. Money was donated by Schwinn Bicycle Co. and Taylor's body was placed in a more prominent part of Mount Glenwood Cemetery in Illinois.

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