This is day 2 of the series The 1968 Mexico Olympics, reconsidered by Mike Fanelli. We report this series on the 54th anniversary of the Games.
Capturing the sights, feelings, and thoughts of the 1968 Olympics is a life focus for Mike Fanelli. If you want to see Mike Fanelli 365 days a year, become a track buddy on his website at #MIKEFANELLI.
Here is Day 2 of the 1968 Olympics, fifty years later, plus one day…
The 100m final, 1968 Mexico Olympics
HINES HOT HUNDRED…day 2 of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics’ feature event was the metric century AKA the 100-meter finals…a gunslinging duel to determine who gets to wear the belt buckle emblazoned ‘World’s Fastest Human
There is nothing in sport quite like the total hush that comes over a sold-out Olympic stadium as the dashmen are called to their marks. There’s also nothing quite like the voluminous uproar of that same crowd the instant that the starter’s pistol cracks.
The field for this one was totally stacked. Not at all surprisingly, Mel Pender, one of the greatest starters EVER, was the first man out of the gate. Even at the ripe age of 30, the Army captain utterly owns the first forty. At the midway point, he is caught by Charlie Greene and the man from McClymonds, James ‘Ray’ Hines. Greene begins to cramp and considers pulling up while Hines powers forward. The electric eye captures golden-shoed Jimmy in a F.A.T. world record time of 9.95, and the belt is all his. Jamaican great Lennox Miller gets up for silver while the bespectacled Greene hangs on for bronze…Pender sixth.
BACKSTORY: Hines graduates from high school in Oaktown, California, and is coached at Texas Southern by triple 1956 Olympic sprint gold medalist Bobby Morrow. Following these Games, Hines would immediately thereafter be a sixth-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins. He serves an erstwhile career in the NFL, including a stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. Thereafter, Hines has spent most of his post-Olympic adult life working with inner-city youth…solid.
Postscript part Deux: the Hines 9.95 mark would stand the test of time until 1983 when Calvin Smith took that standard down a couple of hundredths to 9.93…another ‘solid’.