Philadelphia street renamed after oldest living American Olympic medalist

A Philadelphia street was renamed Friday to honor America's oldest living Olympic medalist, Herb Douglas. 

"If you had told me when I was born that a street would be named after me, I could never fathom that, but here it is," Douglas said. 

The intersection of Cranston and Ford roads in West Philadelphia now bears the name ‘Herb Douglas Way’ following a Friday commemoration ceremony. 

Douglas earned the bronze medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics, competing in the high jump. He missed silver to Australia's Theo Bruce by just .5 an inch. 

Douglas and fellow African-American Willie Steele shared the podium in the event. 

"I was born 59-years after slavery," Douglas said Friday. "I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and ‘the ugly’ is Jim Crow." 

Even before his Olympic success, Douglas was on the football team at the University of Pittsburgh to include Black players. He became the first Black player to score a touchdown against Notre Dame. 

Douglas, who turned 100-years-old in March, was a liquor executive with Hennessy and helped elevate Dom Perignon and other brands at a time when he wasn't allowed to touch white accounts. It was here where he made a lifetime friend in NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris. 

"The guys liked to work with me because they knew I was going to work like they worked, and you have to be humble," Douglas said. 

Herb Douglas won a bronze in the 1948 London Olympics.

From Olympian to cooperate titan to community leader, Douglas believes his accomplishments wouldn't have been possible without his father. 

Douglas said his father proved that he could do anything by becoming the first Black man in Pittsburgh to use a seeing-eye dog to battle vision loss. 

One might think that a modest street corner isn't enough to honor a lifetime of groundbreaking achievements, but Douglas said it's important to stay humble. 

"You have to be humble, you can't put your can up on your shoulder, you got to blend in with everyone, and everyone here is just like me," Douglas said.