Athletics: Jim Hines, first man under 10 seconds in the 100 meters, died
Olympic champion in the 100 m in 1968, he was the first athlete under ten seconds in this distance. American Jim Hines, whose career was as meteoric as his Mexico City straight, died Saturday at the age of 76, World Athletics reported.
American athlete Jim Hines (1st left) trains for the Olympic Games in Mexico City in October 1968. © AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
He will forever remain the first. The first to have crossed this symbolic bar of ten seconds in the 100 m, running in 9 sec 95 at the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968, a record that stood 15 years.
On October 14, 1968, the American became Olympic champion ahead of Jamaican Lennox Miller and his compatriot Charles Greene in a final that brought together eight black runners for the first time. His time, 9 sec 9 on the stadium panel and 9 sec 89 on the electric stopwatch, was finally set at 9 sec 95. "If they corrected my time, it's because no one could believe that a man runs so fast," said Jim Hines, bravache, in an interview with the French sports daily L'Équipe in 2016.
In the Mexican capital, only the podium in the 200m or so remained in the memory, when Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists during the American anthem to protest racial discrimination in the United States. But the 100m also made history by consecrating Hines.
He stopped athletics at the age of 22.
Four months before his coronation, the American had already played with the times. On June 20, 1968, at the U.S. Championships, on the Sacramento Ash Track, he completed the 100 m in 9.9 seconds according to manual timing, finally revised to 10.03 seconds. But on the Mexico City tartan, while electric timing is now authentic, he writes for good the history of the sprint.
Shortly after the Games, and when he was only 22 years old, Jim Hines abandoned athletics to embark on American football without much success, signing with the Miami Dolphins and then the Kansas City Chiefs. Born in Arkansas on September 10, 1946, Hines had also come close to becoming a baseball player before a coach, impressed by his speed, convinced him to let go of the bat for the track and field. And to enter the legend.
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