Tue, 14 Jul 2020

Quai Antoine [Monaco], May 31 (ANI): American sprinter Bobby Joe Morrow who won three gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics died at the age of 84 on Saturday.

World Athletics expressed sorrow over the demise of Morrow. During a relatively short career, he set 11 ratified world records. He remains one of just four men to win Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at the same Games, alongside Jesse Owens (1936), Carl Lewis (1984) and Usain Bolt (2012 and 2016).

Born in Harlingen in October 1935 and raised on a farm in San Benito, Morrow first put his natural speed to use when playing football at high school, but he later focused on sprinting.

He soon became the standout performer on the university athletics team, led by Oliver Jackson.

In 1956, Morrow - aged just 20 at the turn of the year - enjoyed the greatest season of his young career. Having won the 100m and 200m double at the NCAA Championships and then at the US Olympic Trials, Morrow lined up as one of the big medal favourites at the Olympic Games in Melbourne.

He contracted a virus just days before the Games, which led to him losing 4.53 kg in body weight, but even that couldn't stop Morrow. He comfortably won the 100m - into a stiff -2.5m/s headwind - and three days later, competing with strapping on his thigh, he equalled the world record of 20.6 in the 200m to take his second gold of the Games.

Morrow capped his Olympic campaign with a third gold medal and another world record, this time when anchoring the USA to victory in the 4x100m. Their winning time of 39.5 broke a world record that had stood for 20 years to the winners of the 1936 Olympic title, a team that was anchored by Jesse Owens.

His achievements in 1956 led to Morrow being named the Sports Illustrated 'Sportsman of the Year'.

Morrow went on to achieve more success in 1957 and 1958, winning national titles and setting world records. He retired at the end of 1958 but returned to action in 1960 in a bid to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Post-retirement, Morrow retreated from the limelight and returned to his home town of San Benito, working as a farmer and woodworker. In 1989 he was inducted into USA's National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In 2006, San Benito High School named its new 11,000-seat sporting facility after Morrow. (ANI)

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