USA's Jim Hines (279) at the 1968 Olympic Games (© AFP / Getty Images)
World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that legendary US sprinter Jim Hines died on Saturday (3) at the age of 76.
Along with being the 1968 Olympic 100m champion, Hines is best known for being the first man to break the 10-second barrier for the 100m officially.
Hines was born in Dumas, Arkansas, in September 1946, but raised in Oakland, California. Baseball was one of his early sporting interests, but athletics coach Jim Coleman spotted his running ability. By the time Hines was 17, he already ranked among the top 20 in the world over 100 yards.
Coached by 1956 triple Olympic champion Bobby Morrow, Hines achieved his first US Championships podium finish in 1965, placing second in the 200m. In 1966 he won the national 200m title, and one year later he won his first national 100 yards title. Hines also set his first ratified world records in 1967, clocking 9.1 for 100m yards and 10.0 for 100m.
Hines was the fifth man to claim a share of the world 100m record with that mark. Another five men went on to tie it.
At the 1968 US Championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first man to officially break the 10-second barrier for 100m, doing so with 9.9 (and an electronically timed 10.03, though it wasn’t until 1977 that electronic times were required for record ratification).
Having earned his spot on the US team, Hines went to the Olympic Games in Mexico City that year as the marginal favourite. He lived up to expectations and charged to victory in 9.9 (9.95 electronic), making him the first man officially to break 10 seconds with electronic timing.
Hines’ world record lasted 15 years – the longest of any men’s 100m world record in the fully automatic era – before it was finally broken by Calvin Smith in 1983 with 9.93.
Hines went on to add another Olympic gold medal – and world record – to his collection when he anchored the USA to 4x100m victory in 38.24.
After retiring from athletics at the end of 1968, Hines went on to play in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. He later worked with inner-city youth in Houston.