Jim Hines, the first man to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m, died on Monday at the age of 76, according to World Athletics.
Hines ran a hand-timed 9.9sec at the 1968 US Championships in Sacramento, becoming the first man to officially go under 10 seconds for 100m.
Later that year, in winning the Olympic 100m gold medal at altitude in Mexico City, Hines set an electronic world record of 9.95 seconds.
That record remained unbroken for 15 years, the longest of any men’s 100m world record in the fully automatic era.
It was finally broken in 1983 by another American, Calvin Smith, who ran 9.93 seconds at altitude.
Hines, the son of a construction worker, was born in Dumas, Arkansas, in September 1946, but was raised in Oakland, California.
His early passion was for baseball but athletics coach Jim Coleman spotted his talent for sprinting and by the time Hines was 17, he already ranked among the top 20 in the world over 100 yards.
He attended Texas Southern University and his first podium finish in the US Championships came in 1965 when he came second in the 200m.
At the Mexico Olympics he led home Lennox Miller of Jamaica and Charles Greene in the 100m, setting the new world record.
Hines added another Olympic gold medal — and world record — when he anchored the USA to gold in the 4x100m relay in 38.24.
Soon after the Olympics, burglars broke into his home in Houston and stole his gold medals. But after placing an advert in his local newspaper appealing for the medals to be returned, they were posted back to him in a plain brown envelope.
Hines retired from athletics at the end of 1968 and went on to play in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.