Rodney Milburn, Jr. (May 18, 1950 - November 11, 1997) was an American athlete who won gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich in the 110m hurdles.
After going through 1971 undefeated, the Opelousas, Louisiana athlete earned the nickname Hot Rod and was awarded the Track and Field News Athlete of the Year Award. At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Rodney won the gold medal in the 110m hurdles in a time of 13.24 seconds, ahead of Guy Drut and Thomas Hill. To cap the victory the time was a new world record.
Milburn hoped for an Olympic comeback in 1980, but the USA's boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow put paid to that.
Milburn spent some time coaching young athletes at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but often found himself without a job. The "Hot Rod's" life went quickly downhill and he ended up in a homeless shelter. At a paper plant in Port Hudson, Louisiana, in November 1997, Rodney was overcome by sodium chlorate fumes he was transporting from a rail car.
His death came as a huge shock to the track and field community who vividly remembered Rodney's achievements on the track.