Lee Evans: American Olympic Champion Dies In Ogun Hospital

Double Olympic champion Lee Evans has died aged 74 at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital in Ogun State.

American Evans, the 1968 Olympic 400m and 4x400m champion had been on life support at the hospital after suffering a stroke last week in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

His death was confirmed by close friend and 1980 AFCON winner Segun Odegbami on Wednesday night.

Evans was 21 when he won his two gold medals at the same 1968 Mexico City Games, becoming the first man to dip below 44secs and setting a record that lasted for twenty years when he took the 400m gold in 43.86secs.

He also anchored the United States team in the 4x400m relay run in 2 minutes 56.16 seconds, a record that lasted for 24 years.

Following in the footsteps of 200m champion Tommie Smith and 200m bronze medallist John Carlos, Evans famously raised his fist in the Black Power salute during his medal presentation ceremony.

After retiring as an athlete, Evans directed track and field programmes internationally between 1975 and 1997 including in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. He was named coach of the year in Nigeria in 1977 after coaching the sprint team at the All-African team.

According to the New York Times, Evans was banned from coaching for four years by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria in 2014 for giving a schoolgirl performance-enhancing substances that might have been responsible for her failing a doping test.

He had been working as a volunteer coach at the Segun Odegbami International College and Sports Academy, in Wasimi Orile, Ogun State, before his passing.

“He has been supporting me now for two years as a volunteer coach of young boys and girls at the Segun Odegbami International College and Sports Academy, SOCA, in Wasimi Orile, Ogun State, and transforming young lives positively,” Odegbami wrote.