Dave Bolen
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-U0904-0302, Berlin, Konsularvertrag DDR-USA (cropped).jpg
Dave Bolen, 1979
United States Ambassador to East Germany
In office
August 22, 1977 – June 20, 1980
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byJohn Sherman Cooper
Succeeded byHerbert S. Okun
United States Ambassador to Lesotho
In office
April 25, 1974 – August 11, 1976
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byCharles J. Nelson
Succeeded byDonald R. Norland
United States Ambassador to Swaziland
In office
April 22, 1974 – August 11, 1976
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byCharles J. Nelson
Succeeded byDonald R. Norland
United States Ambassador to Botswana
In office
April 11, 1974 – August 11, 1976
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byCharles J. Nelson
Succeeded byDonald R. Norland
Personal details
Born
David Benjamin Bolen

(1923-12-23) December 23, 1923 (age 98)
Heflin, Louisiana, U.S.
Spouse(s)
Betty L. Gayden
(m. 1949)
Children3
Alma materSouthern University
University of Colorado Boulder
Harvard University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service
USAAC Roundel 1919-1941.svg
Army Air Corps
Years of service1943–1946

David Benjamin Bolen (born December 23, 1923) is an American track and field athlete, Olympian, diplomat and businessman.

Biography

Bolen competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in the 400 metres. He finished fourth in the final behind Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley and Mal Whitfield. In 2012, Bolen told The Boulder Daily Camera that "The Olympics is not something you train for. You have to have talent, world-class talent. You have to use that talent for the benefit of yourself and others."[1] Bolen first discovered that he had that talent when he raced other children during an Easter egg hunt during his childhood and found that he was faster. He later decided he wanted to use his "foot speed" to gain a college education.[2]

Bolen graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1950, and was the university's first Olympic athlete.[3] Before serving for two years in the Army Air Force in WWII,[4] he attended Southern University in New Orleans; after his service, he was recruited by CU Boulder track and field coach Frank Potts.[2]

Later, Bolen's career took him to the US State Department. In 1974, President Richard Nixon appointed him ambassador to Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana simultaneously, while keeping residence in Gaborone. In 1977, the German-speaking Bolen was appointed by President Jimmy Carter and confirmed as US Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic. He was the first African-American to serve as ambassador to a nation behind the Iron Curtain. He served until 1980. As an ambassador to East Germany, Bolen helped to lay the groundwork for the destruction of the Berlin Wall. On November 9, 1989, the day the wall came down, Bolen's daughter, Cynthia, was photographed handing a long-stemmed rose to an East German border guard standing atop the wall.[5] He also worked to help free Nelson Mandela from prison.[2]

Competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
1948 Olympics London, United Kingdom 4th 400 m 47.2

References

  1. ^ "First CU-Boulder Olympian David Bolen: Games are 'not something you train for'". www.dailycamera.com. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  2. ^ a b c "Running Down a Dream". Alumni Association. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  3. ^ Bugros), McLean, Polly E. Bugros (Polly Elise (2018-09-28). Remembering Lucile : a Virginia family's rise from slavery and a legacy forged a mile high. Boulder, Colorado. ISBN 9781607328254. OCLC 1076877671.
  4. ^ "David Benjamin Bolen (1923- ) • BlackPast". BlackPast. 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  5. ^ "Boulder diplomat's daughter remembers Berlin Wall". www.dailycamera.com. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2019-03-09.

July 8, 1977