Hurdling For Gold
Rodney Milburn was an Olympic hurdler who won gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich in the 110 meters hurdles. While in Munich, Rodney Milburn tied the world record of 13.24 in winning the gold medal. Rodney “Rod” Milburn Jr. was born in Opelousas, Louisiana on March 18, 1950 and died at the young age of 47 years old on November 11, 1997 from an accident while at work.
While in high school, he grew from a teenager knocking over hurdles in his first race to a national recorded breaking high school athlete. When he was a senior at Clark High school, he looked upon as an outstanding high school hurdler in the United States. Rodney attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he received an athletics scholarship. By 1971, he was unbeaten in twenty-eight races. During that time, Rodney Milburn had also broken the national age record for the 120 yard hurdles at 13.5 seconds.
Rodney Milburn retired from athletics in 1983. By the next year, he was hired as a coach at Southern University in Baton Rouge and coached there until 1987. In 1992, the city of Opelousas named a street after Rodney Milburn to show honor and commemorate his Olympic triumph. The name of the street is now Rodney Milburn Blvd. Rodney’s street run through the North City Park. The Opelousas Museum also has a dedicated section to Rodney Milburn.