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Jim Hines, first sprinter under 10 secs, dies

Jim Hines, first sprinter under 10 secs, dies

LOS ANGELES: US sprinter Jim Hines, the first man to break the 10-second barrier for 100m, has died at the age of 76, World Athletics said on Monday.

At the 1968 US Championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first man to officially go below 10 seconds for 100m, running a hand-timed 9.9sec.

Later that year, in winning the 1968 Olympic 100m gold medal at altitude in Mexico City, Hines lowered the world record to an electronic timing of 9.95sec.

Remarkably, that record stood for 15 years — the longest of any men’s 100m world record in the fully automatic era. It was finally broken by another American, Calvin Smith, in 1983 with 9.93sec, also at altitude.

Hines early passion was for baseball but athletics coach Jim Coleman spotted his talent for sprinting and by the time Hines was 17, he already ranked among the top 20 in the world over 100 yards.

His first podium finish in the US Championships came in 1965 when he came second in the 200m.

At the Mexico Olympics he led home Lennox Miller of Jamaica and Charles Greene in the 100m, setting the new world record.

Hines added another Olympic gold medal — and world record — when he anchored the USA to gold in the 4x100m relay in 38.24.

Soon after the Olympics, burglars broke into his home in Houston and stole his gold medals. But after placing an advert in his local newspaper appealing for the medals to be returned, they were posted back to him in a plain brown envelope.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023

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