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Athletics General

Jim Hines: First Sub-10 Second 100m Sprinter

Jim Hines: First Sub-10 Second 100m Sprinter
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Born in Arkansas and raised in California, Jim Hines is best known as the first man to break the 10-second barrier in the 100-meter dash with electronic timing.

According to World Athletics, he recorded a hand-timed 9.9 at the 1968 U.S. Championships but it was adjusted, with electronic timing, to 10.03.

James Ray Hines popularly known as 'Jim Hines'.

James Ray Hines or Jim Hines (September 10, 1946 – June 3, 2023) was an American track and field athlete and National Football League (NFL) player, who held the 100-meter world record for 15 years. 

In 1968, he became the first man to officially break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters and won individual and relay gold at the Mexico City Olympics.

Jim's Career 

Born in Dumas, Arkansas, Hines was raised in Oakland, California, and graduated from McClymonds High School in 1964.

He was a baseball player in his younger years until he was spotted by track coach Jim Coleman as a running talent, and Hines became a sprinter.

On October 14, 1968, Jim Hines settled into his blocks for the 100m final at the Mexico Games. It was the first Olympics on a synthetic track and 2248m above sea level and, helped with a gentle tailwind of 0.3m/sec the 22-year-old American stormed to victory in 9.95 – the first-ever ratified automatic world record at the distance.

Four days after his triumph he signed for the Miami Dolphins football team. 

His 100m mark, however, survived for 15 years before Calvin Smith improved it to 9.93 – also at altitude – in Colorado in 1983.

In addition to winning the Olympic 100m title in Mexico, he combined with Charles Greene, Melvin Pender and Ronnie Ray Smith to take the 4x100m gold too in a world record of 38.2. Outside of the Olympics, he set world records at 100 yards with 9.1 and 4×100 yards with 39.6 in 1967.

At the Mexico Games itself, he was at the height of his powers as he led Lennox Miller of Jamaica and Greene of the United States home.

After his sprints career, his time in the NFL did not go that well, playing a handful of games for Miami in 1969 before Kansas City Chiefs.

Professional football career

Hines was drafted by the Miami Dolphins of the NFL in the sixth round of the 1968 NFL Draft.

Hines spent the 1968 season on the Dolphins practice squad. He was given the nickname "Oops". 

He appeared in ten games with Miami in 1969, accumulating a total of 52 all-purpose yards. Hines' final professional game was his first and only game with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970.

He recorded only one rushing attempt, returned one kickoff and caught two passes for 23 yards.

Hines was ranked as the 10th-worst NFL player of all time by Deadspin writer Jeff Pearlman.

After retirement phase

After retiring from sports, he worked for many years as a social worker and founded a charitable organization to help people in the Oakland area.

Hines was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, class of 1994 as well as inducted into the Texas Track and Field coaches Hall of Fame, class of 2016.

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