Brian Heyman

Panafrica - United States
The riders were drenched in sweat as they pumped their pedals hard and sped toward the finish line at Queen’s Park velodrome in Montreal, Canada. It was August and four men chased victory in the one-mile sprint of the world cycling championships. Suddenly, 20-year-old Marshall W. “Major” Taylor edged out in front of his competitors, thrilling the crowds in the stands. Taylor sailed across the finish line in first place and rode a victory lap around the stadium as cheers washed over the young champion. “My national anthem took on new meaning for me,” Taylor later wrote in his autobiography, The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World. “I never felt so proud to be an American before, and indeed I felt even more American at that moment than I had ever felt in America.”


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