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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Olympian Edwin Moses Helps Kids Clear Their Own Hurdles

Edwin Moses jumps a hurdle on his way to winning the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in Los Angeles, August 5, 1984. (AP)

Edwin Moses jumps a hurdle on his way to winning the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in Los Angeles, August 5, 1984. (AP)

Edwin Moses was one of the best ever at clearing hurdles on the track.

Now, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner is helping kids in underserved neighborhoods clear their own hurdles.

Moses is chairman of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, which supports the training and placement of coaches in sports-based youth development programs in U.S. cities.

Edwin Moses is pictured at the Here & Now studios in Boston. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

Edwin Moses is pictured at the Here & Now studios in Boston. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

He’s in Boston today, where a new batch of coaches is completing training at Up2Us’s Coach Across America Training Institute, which Laureus supports. The coaches will move on to after-school programs.

“We’re here to train coaches to work with kids that don’t have the opportunities to have physical education programs, that don’t have the opportunity to have parents that can afford to send them to camps and so forth,” Moses told Here & Now.

Laureus is also active in cities including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans. And the coaches don’t focus only on sports. They also teach kids about leadership and life skills.

“Sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference,” Moses said. “You could see kids doing anything from playing soccer, other types of coordination games. In one of the projects in New Orleans, they have at this particular school, they actually have a garden where they grow vegetables and fruits, and a kitchen where they prepare and learn how to make recipes that are much more healthy for the kids.”

Moses says the programs that he benefited from when growing up in Dayton, Ohio, are gone.

“Fortunately, in my childhood years, there were federal programs that basically do what private industry — Mercedes-Benz, Coach Across America, Up2Us — have to do. All we had to do was get to the city park, because there was federal programs that went to the state, that went to the city, and that money was dispersed to the park,” Moses said.

Guest

  • Edwin Moses, former track and field athlete and two-time Olympic gold medal winner.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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