While Taylor attended Central High School in Philadelphia, he ran track as the only Black athlete on the team. From there, he attended the Moses Brown Preparatory School in Rhode Island, flourishing on a team with an undefeated streak. When he enrolled in the Wharton School of Finance one year later, he joined the varsity track team, where he would come to break the intercollegiate record for the 440-yard run.

In the 1908 Olympics, Taylor competed in both the 400-meter relay final and the 1600-meter medley relay. The 400-meter relay was steeped in controversy, with officials claiming that one of the American runners fouled a British competitor—causing the gold medal to ultimately go to Britain. However, in the 1600-meter medley relay, Taylor ran the third leg of the race for his team and went down in history when he brought home the gold. Sadly, only five months after his triumph, Taylor passed away from typhoid fever complications.

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