Larry Black, 54; Track Star Won Gold, Silver Medals in ‘72 Olympics

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Larry Black, 54, a gold and silver medalist in track and field at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, died Wednesday in Miami of an aneurysm, according to his wife, Cherese Black.

At the Munich Games, Black won a gold medal running the lead leg of the men’s 400-meter relay. He won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash.

A native of Miami, Black was an 11-time collegiate All-American as a sprinter for North Carolina Central University. He won an NCAA outdoor national title in the 220-yard dash in 1971.

Black’s life took a dramatic downturn after the Olympics. He became addicted to drugs and alcohol in the late 1970s and spent the next 15 years in a downward spiral. He entered a homeless shelter in 1994 that offered drug and alcohol counseling and was able to quit. He spent much of the last 10 years of his life working as a fitness counselor.