A few hours before the 12th anniversary of Usain Bolt's first world record (9.72 in the 100 meters, on May 31, 2008), Bobby Morrow died at 84 and of natural causes . A Texan ray, world co-marker in 1956 of 100 meters (10.2) and 200 (20.6). In both tests he performed those numbers three times.

Twinned through and above time, Morrow and Bolt share a select, minority Olympus with Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis . Only the four of them have been, in the same edition of the Olympic Games, champions in 100, 200 and 4x100 relay. The ultimate poker of Olympic speed. Owens in Berlin (1936). Lewis in Los Angeles (1984). Bolt in London (2012) and Rio (2016). Morrow in Melbourne (1956). In addition, Morrow is the only target in the quartet. And, also, the last American sprinter of that color to win Olympic gold.

He was the typical American boy. He could have posed for a Marine Corps recruitment ad or for a burger and strawberry smoothie menu. A smiling boy from Harlingen, a small town in the extreme southeast of the state, near the border with Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. A young devotee, student of Agricultural Sciences at the Christian University of Abilene.

With a proportionate and slender physique (1.85 and 75 kilos), far from the later ones and, in general, hypertrophied sprinters, at the time of the predominance of the natural class, he had a fluid, clean style. He had already proved himself unbeatable in interscholastic competitions, with formidable records at 100 and 200 yards. His appearance added wealth to an especially fertile moment for USA speed, with stars like Dave Sime, Mike Agostini, Leamon King, Willie Williams, Ira Murchison, Andrew Stanfield and Thane Baker . In the American Championships, in the trials for the Melbourne Games, he prevailed in the 100 with 10.3 to Murchison and Baker. And in the 200, with 20.6, Baker and Stanfield.

Already in Australia, Morrow, recovered from a flu condition that caused him to lose weight, undefeated the qualifiers of 100: 10.4 in the series, and 10.3 in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals. It made worse mark (10.5) in the end, although due to a cold wind against five meters per second. Baker performed the same chrono. And the Australian Hector Hogan, a tenth more (10.6).

Morrow gingerly took the 200. With a slight tug on his left groin in the 100 test, he ran with his thigh bandaged. He saved the qualifiers at half gas, but already in the final he used himself to the full and won, again, 20.6 ahead of Stanfield (20.7) and Baker (20.9), silver and gold, respectively, in Helsinki52.

The American triplet was the tremendous prelude to the 4x100 relay. With Morrow in the last post, Murchison in the first, King in the second and Baker in the third, the team set the world record at 39.5. The previous one (39.8) had lasted 30 years, from just the Berlin Games with Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe, Foy Draper and Frank Wykoff .

Morrow maintained a high standard in 1957 and 1958. He retired then at just 23 years old. Nostalgic, he resolved to return for the Games in Rome in 1960. But an injury prevented him from competing in the "trials". He made no further attempt and returned to his Texas home in San Benito, a neighborhood of Harlingen (or vice versa), to work as a farmer. His figure is a prestigious member of the American Athletics Hall of Fame. Sports Illustrated elected him Best Male Athlete of the year 1956. The San Benito stadium is named after him. That of a village boy. That of a universal athlete.

In accordance with the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

    Sports What sports can I practice in phase 1 of the Descaling Plan?

    More sportThe difficult first day of the athletes who felt "delinquent": "They have never looked at me so badly"

    More sport Duplantis and Lavillenie share the gold jumping from the garden of their houses