Har­ri­son Dil­lard, Olympic cham­pion sprinter/hur­dler, dies

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Weather / Obituaries -

CLEVELAND ( AP) — Har­ri­son Dil­lard, the for­mer Buffalo Sol­dier and only Olympic run­ner to win gold medals in both the sprints and high hur­dles, has died. He was 96.

Long­time friend Ted Theodore said Dil­lard died Fri­day at the Cleveland Clinic af­ter a fight with stom­ach can­cer. The 1955 Sul­li­van Award win­ner as the na­tion’s out­stand­ing am­a­teur ath­lete, Dil­lard was the old­est liv­ing U.S. Olympic cham­pion.

“It is a loss for hu­man­ity,’’ Theodore said Cleveland.com. “He was an ex­am­ple for all of us, how to live our lives, with never an un­kind word for any­one. He was a cham­pion, a true cham­pion.’’

Dil­lard was a sharp­shooter in the last racially seg­re­gated unit in the U.S. Army in World War II, serv­ing as a Buffalo Sol­dier in the 92nd In­fantry Di­vi­sion. He re­turned to Europe a few years later for the Olympics.

In the 1948 Lon­don Games, Dil­lard won the 100 me­ters in 10.3 sec­onds and earned an­other gold medal on the United

States’ 400 re­lay team. At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Dil­lard won his spe­cialty, the 110 high hur­dles, in 13.91, and again ran on the win­ning re­lay team. Over­all, Dil­lard won more than 400 races — 82 in a row at one point.

Dil­lard won 11 in­door and out­door na­tional cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing the in­door 60-yard hur­dles a record eight con­sec­u­tive years. Dil­lard won that event at the Mill­rose Games nine years in a row. He held world hur­dles records at 60 yards in­doors, and 110 yards and 220 yards out­doors.

A na­tive of Cleveland, Dil­lard grew up idol­iz­ing an­other Cleveland na­tive, Jesse Owens. Dil­lard and Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics, grad­u­ated from Cleveland East Tech­ni­cal High School and starred at Bald­win Wal­lace Col­lege.

In 1974, Dil­lard was in­ducted into the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and in 1983 he be­came a char­ter in­ductee into the U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee Hall of Fame.


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