Olympic sprinting legend, once the fastest athlete on the planet, passes away aged 76

Image of American 100m sprinter Jim Hines.

Image of American 100m sprinter Jim Hines. Credit: UPI/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Jim Hines, the American sprinter who became the first athlete to run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds, has passed away. His death at the age of 76 was reported this Sunday, June 4, by Athletics Weekly.

In 1968 he crossed the finishing line in the Mexico Olympics 100m final on October 14 in a blistering world record time of 9.95 seconds. There was a slight controversy over his time, which was first recorded at 9.89 but was later adjusted to 9.95 seconds.

The 9.89 was taken from a light beam across the finish line, while the official photographic process used Polaroid film and took a couple of minutes to process and read.

Not content with winning gold in the 100m, Hines teamed up to also win gold in the men’s 4 x 100m relay. Another world record was set as they finished with a time of 38.2 seconds. He shared this honour with Charles Greene, Melvin Pender, and Ronnie Ray Smith.

Hines held the world 100m record for a staggering 15 years, the longest period that any athlete ever held it. His time was eventually broken in July 1983 by fellow American sprinter, Calvin Smith, who ran a 9.93 seconds race.

Jim Hines went on to have a short career in the NFL

Four days after his world record, he was drafted by the legendary Miami Dolphins American football team. Hines managed 10 appearances for the NFL giants in 1969. He subsequently made just one appearance in 1970 with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not long after his sensational victory at the Olympics, Jim arrived home to discover that his Houston home had been broken into. Thieves had taken items of jewellery belonging to his wife and their television set, but worst of all, his gold medals were gone.

Incredibly though, after placing an ad in his local paper, a plain brown envelope turned up containing his sentimental property.

In 1994, Jim Hines was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2016, his talent was recognised by the Texas Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com