Hayes Edward "Big Ed" Sanders
1952 Olympic Gold Medal, Heavyweight boxing - El Camino College Compton Center
Hayes Edward "Big Ed" Sanders (1930-1954) won the gold medal in heavyweight boxing at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. At the age of 22, he became the first African American Olympic heavyweight champion, and returned to the United States as a national hero. His Olympic championship bout with Sweden's Ingemar Johansson became boxing lore when Johansson was eventually disqualified by the referee during the second round for "failure to fight."
Sanders was born March 24, 1930, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He attended Jordan High School in Los Angeles, and played on the football and basketball teams. After high school, he enrolled at the former Compton College, now the El Camino College Compton Center, during the 1949-1950 school year, where he played football under then head coach Ken Carpenter and joined the newly formed boxing team. Within two years, he twice won the National Junior College Boxing Championship in the heavyweight division.