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BW's Harrison Dillard '49 inducted into USTFCCA inaugural Hall of Fame class

USTFCCCA Inaugural Hall of Fame logo

Baldwin Wallace University Athletics Alumni Hall of Famer and legendary Olympic gold medalist Harrison Dillard '49 became one of the first inductees into the new U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame last night.

Dillard, who passed away in November 2019 at the age of 96, is the only NCAA Division III student-athlete inducted in the inaugural 30-member class, chosen solely for their accomplishments as a collegiate athlete.

The USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony, hosted by ESPN's John Anderson, took place in Eugene, Oregon, ahead of the 100th NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Yellow Jacket Glory

Harrison Dillard 2015 unveiling of his bronze statue at BW

Competing as a Yellow Jacket, Dillard won four national collegiate titles in the high and low hurdles. He also took 14 AAU outdoor titles in the high and low hurdles and lost the opportunity for more because of the outbreak of World War II.

He was virtually unbeatable indoors, winning the AAU 60-yard hurdles seven years in a row from 1947 through 1953 and again in 1955. A world record-holder in both the high and low hurdles, Dillard won the 1955 Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete.

Dillard is honored on the BW campus with a life-sized bronze statue outside Finnie Stadium and the indoor track that bears his name.

Olympic Gold

Harrison Dillard wins the 100 meter dash by one-tenth of a second at the the 1948 Olympic Games. (Image Courtesy of: National Media Museum)

On the world stage, Dillard won four Olympic gold medals, two in 1948 and two more in 1952, the only man ever to win Olympic gold medals in both the sprints and high hurdles. His Olympic story is one for the ages, with a "trip" and a "lean" making the difference in medal outcomes.

After winning a then-world record 82 straight hurdles races, Dillard failed to make the 1948 Olympic team as a hurdler but qualified in the 100-meter. In London, despite not running his best event, he "outleaned" the favored Barney Ewell of the U.S. to win the gold medal.

Four years later, in Helsinki, Dillard won the gold medal in his trademark event, the 110-meter high hurdles, by narrowly beating American Jack Davis. He also won his second gold in the 4x100-meter relay.

The spindly but fierce competitor, nicknamed "Bones," is now recognized in 15 world and American halls of fame, including the new USTFCCCA shrine, as well as his alma mater's.

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