Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist And Hurdles Legend Harrison Dillard Dies At 96

Harrison Dillard

Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist And Hurdles Legend Harrison Dillard Dies At 96

The world’s best hurdler won 82 consecutive finals during his career.

Published November 19, 2019

Written by Jarod Hector

The New York Times published an obituary for “The World’s Greatest Hurdler” during the 1940s on Sunday (November 17). 

Harrison Dillard, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, died at the age of 96 in Cleveland. 

During the period from June 1947 through June 1948, Dillard won a remarkable 82 consecutive finals, outdoors and indoors, in the high hurdles, low hurdles and sprints.

An astonishing feat. It was the longest streak in track and field history. 

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He should’ve easily won the 110 meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials in 1948 and the gold medal at the Olympic games in the same event.

But he had a bad race and his foot hit the first seven hurdles and he never made it to the eighth. 

“I was supposed to be a shoo-in,” he said, “but I learned that day that nothing’s ever a sure thing. It was the worst race I ever ran. It was the only time in my life than I didn’t finish a race.” 

He did win gold in the 100-meter dash at the 1948 Olympics, a race he was expected to finish no higher than fifth.

Redemption came at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, when Dillard won the 110-meter high hurdles.

He is survived by a daughter, Terri, and three grandchildren. 

Rest in power, Harrison Dillard.

(Photo: Todd Warshaw/Pool/Getty Images)

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