Ed Temple is going to be busy reminiscing this month.
On Thursday, the long-time Tennessee State women’s track coach will be inducted into the 2012 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame with ceremonies at the Harris Theatre in Chicago.
Then after a return to his North Nashville home, he will settle back and watch the Summer Olympics, which open July 27 in London.
Both will provide the opportunity to revisit memories for Temple, who was the U.S. Olympic women’s track coach in 1960 and 1964 and an assistant in 1980.
“I’m very proud of the Hall of Fame selection,” he told The City Paper before leaving for Chicago with his daughter for this week’s induction ceremonies. “It’s something really special, and I am truly honored.”
The Hall of Fame announced him as a member of its 2012 induction class in mid-May.
Temple, 84, retired from TSU in 1994 after 41 years. He began in 1953 as an unpaid coach, who drove his athletes to meets on his own dime.
He gained national renown in 1960 when, with Temple as U.S. coach, Clarksville native and TSU runner Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals (100, 200 4x100 relay) during the Olympics in Rome.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect in Rome, we were just hoping to get someone up on the platform [for a gold, silver or bronze medal],” he said. “But Wilma just ran away with her races.”
As proud as Temple is of Rudolph, who passed away in 1994 due to a brain tumor, he feels no differently about many of his other Tigerbelles who achieved great success on the track.
“In 1964 in Tokyo, Wyomia Tyus had two golds, and she became the first women to repeat as 100 champion in 1968 in Mexico City,” he said.
Tyus not only won gold medals in the 100 and 4x100 relay in 1964, she set world records in both.
“And Mae Faggs (Starr) became the first U.S. female to participate in three Olympics [1948, 1952, 1956],” he said. “Edith McGuire (Duvall) broke Wilma’s 200 record in 1964 in the Tokyo Games.”
Temple especially singled out Madeline Manning (Mims).
“Madeline [a four-time Olympian] was the first and only American to win an Olympic gold medal in the 800, in 1968 at Mexico City,” he said. “That was supposedly too difficult a race for a woman to run. She also won the 800 gold at the 1967 Pan-American games.”
Temple’s last really outstanding performer was Chandra Cheeseborough, who, at the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984, became the first female to win gold in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. She could have won more in 1980, but that was when the U.S. boycotted the Games in Moscow.
The collective international performances of his Tigerbelles are legendary and well-documented. Starting in 1960, TSU runners collected 27 Olympic medals, 30 Pan-Am medals and 34 national team titles.
“I am excited to hear that Coach Temple has been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame,” Cheeseborough (Guice), who is currently the TSU track and field director, said on the TSU website. “He deserves it. We have put so many athletes into the Olympics, thanks to his hard work and dedication.”
Temple is no stranger to Halls of Fame.
He has already been inducted to the TSU, the Tennessee, the Helms, the Pennsylvania (where he was an outstanding three sport athlete), the Ohio Valley Conference, the Black Athletes and Communiplex Halls.