The American Jim Hines, the first athlete to have officially run the 100m under ten seconds (9 s 95), died Saturday at the age of 76, announced the International Athletics Federation (World Athletics), in expressing his “deep sadness”.
“As well as being Olympic champion in the 100m in 1968, Hines is known for being the first man to officially break the 10 second mark”recalled the institution in a press release published on its website overnight from Sunday to Monday.
It was during this 100m final of the Mexico Olympics, on October 14, 1968, that the American had achieved this unprecedented performance, beating the Jamaican Lennox Miller and his compatriot Charles Greene. The Olympic Stadium board had first displayed 9.95, then his time was announced at 9.89 on the electric stopwatch before it was finally set at 9.95.
“Nobody could believe that a man runs so fast”
“If they corrected my time, it’s because no one could believe that a man could run so fast”had launched Jim Hines, bravado, in an interview with the French daily The Team in 2016.
This record stood for fifteen years, until the time of 9 s 93 achieved by his compatriot Calvin Smith in Colorado Springs (United States), in 1983. The current holder is the Jamaican Usain Bolt, with a time of 9 s 58 achieved during 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
In Mexico, Jim Hines had also won gold with the American 4 × 100 m relay, but his two Olympic titles will remain without a future since he quickly put an end to his career as an athlete, at the age of 22, to start without great success in American football. Younger, Hines, born in Arkansas, had also almost become a baseball player before a coach, impressed by his burst of speed, convinced him to drop the bat for the athletic tracks.