Jim Hines, who in 1968 became the first person to sprint the 100 meters in less than 10 seconds, and later that year won a gold medal over the distance at the Olympics in Mexico City in a blistering time of 9.95 seconds, a mark that stood as a world record for 15 years, died on Saturday in Hayward, California. He is 76 years old.
His death was confirmed by his sister Mamie Hines Ford, who claimed not to know what caused it.
Hines first officially broke the 10-second barrier in the 100-meter event at the United States National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1968 in Sacramento, which he won in a time of 9.9 seconds.
Hines was confident in the months before the Olympics. When The Oakland Tribune asked him if he thought he would win in Mexico City, he said, “Yeah, definitely.”
The 1968 Olympics are widely remembered for the civil rights protests staged by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two African-American medalists in the 200-metre race who raised their fists in solidarity with the Black Power movement while standing on the winner’s podium as “The Star”. -Spangled Banner” played.
Hines, who is also black, did not comment when a reporter asked him what he thought of trying to organize a black boycott of the 1968 Olympics. But in 1991 he told The Los Angeles Times that not all black athletes at the Olympics — himself included — agreed with the protest.
“Most of us feel the best way a black athlete can make a statement is to go out and do what they do best,” said Hines. “Tommie and John feel like what they are doing is for all the black athletes and black men in America. They don’t think about it.”
In 1974, says Pender The New York Times that Hines uses his confidence to intimidate opponents.
“You just heard him say, ‘I’m ready, baby,'” says Pender. “He would say it so nonchalantly, like there was no way he could lose.”
Hines considers Greene the biggest threat in the gold medal run, he told The Tribune, but added, “To be honest, I was faster than him.”
In Mexico City, Hines came off the beam and ran with the wind at his back, his eyes wide and his teeth gritted. he tore off the front of the parcel and broke the tape.
“It was the best start I’ve had in my life, and it’s the best 100 starts I’ve ever raced,” he said afterwards.
His 100 meter record stood until 1983, when Calvin Smith broke it at 9.93. That website for World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field, lists Usain Bolt as the current world record holder, with a time of 9.58, set in 2009 at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.
Hines won another gold medal at the 1968 Olympics, helping his teammates Pender, Greene and Ronnie Ray Smith win in the men’s 4×100 relay for the United States.
After completing the 1968 track and field season, Hines, coveted for his speed, played in the American Football League. He joined the Miami Dolphins as a receiver, and in doing so provided a further opportunity to compete in the Olympics, which at the time required athletes to be amateurs.
He played with Miami in 1969 but recorded only two receptions and one rushing attempt during the season. The Dolphins then traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs, but he did not play in the 1970 season and soon left professional football.
James Ray Hines was born in Dumas, Ark., on September 10, 1946, and grew up in Oakland, California. His father, Charlie, was a construction worker; her mother, Minnie West Hines, worked in a cannery. Jim has six sisters and three brothers.
As a youth he was more interested in baseball and football than running, but his speed impressed the track coaches at McClymonds High School in Oakland, who asked him to join the team.
Hines attended Texas Southern University in Houston, where he ran. The Dolphins drafted him in 1968 even though he had not played soccer since high school. He delayed signing a contract with the Dolphins so he could compete in the Olympics.
After his football career ended, Hines ran as a professional, well into his 30s and struggling at times to make ends meet. After retiring from the sport, he worked for many years as a social worker and founded a charitable organization to help people in the Oakland area.
Hines met Joyce, the woman who became his wife, in Texas Southern. Their marriage ended with his death. Hines lives in San Leandro, California.
As well as his sister, Mamie, he is survived by another sister, Camille Sellers; one son, James Jr.; a daughter, Kimberly Anderson; and four grandchildren.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.