William Harrison "Bones" Dillard (July 8, 1923 – November 15, 2019) was an American track and field athlete, who is the only male in the history of the Olympic Games to win gold in both the 100 meter (sprints) and the 110 meter hurdles, making him the “World’s Fastest Man” in 1948 and the “World’s Fastest Hurdler” in 1952.

Harrison Dillard
Harrison Dillard 1952.jpg
Dillard at 1952 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Harrison Dillard[1]
Born(1923-07-08)July 8, 1923
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedNovember 15, 2019(2019-11-15) (aged 96)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)[1]
Weight152 lb (69 kg)[1]
Event(s)100 m, 200 m
110 m, 400 m hurdles
ClubBaldwin-Wallace College
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m – 10.50 (1948)
200 m – 20.8 (1948)
110 mH – 13.6 (1948)[1]
400 mH – 53.7 (1942)[2]
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt with Harrison Dillard holding the 1948 London Olympics torch, August 1, 2012.

Early life and careerEdit

Dillard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 8, 1923[3][1] and attended East Technical High School. He entered Baldwin-Wallace College in 1941 and joined Pi Lambda Phi International Fraternity, and two years later was drafted into the U.S. Army serving in the all-black 92nd Infantry Division known as the Buffalo Soldiers.[4] He returned to college in 1946 and resumed athletics, to which he had been inspired by Jesse Owens, who was also from Cleveland and had attended East Technical High School as well. He won the NCAA and AAU 120-yard and 220-yard hurdles in both 1946 and 1947 and he tied world records in both events with a 22.3 in the 220 in 1946 and a 13.6 in the 120.

Olympic GamesEdit

At the trials for the 1948 Summer Olympics, Dillard failed to qualify for the 110 m hurdles event, but qualified for the 100 m after finishing third.

At the Games, Dillard reached the final, which seemed to end in a dead heat between Dillard and another American, Barney Ewell. The finish photo showed Dillard had won, equalling the World record as well. This was the first use of a photo finish at an Olympic Games.[5] As a member of the 4 × 100 m relay team, he won another gold medal at the London Games.[1]

Four years later, still a strong hurdler, Dillard did qualify for the 110 m hurdles event, and won the event in Helsinki.[3] Another 4 × 100 m relay victory yielded Dillard's fourth Olympic title. Dillard attempted to qualify for a third Olympics in 1956, but failed. Earlier he took part in and won the gold medal in the 110m hurdles at the 1953 Maccabiah Games.[6][7]

Later yearsEdit

Dillard worked for the Cleveland Indians baseball franchise in scouting and public relations capacities, and hosted a radio talk show on Cleveland's WERE. He also worked for the Cleveland City School District for many years as its Business Manager.[1] Dillard died on November 15, 2019, at the age of 96 of stomach cancer.[8] At the time of his death he was the United States' oldest living Olympic gold medallist.[9]

Competition recordEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   United States
1948 Olympics London, England 1st 100 m 10.3

Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Harrison Dillard". sports-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  2. ^ Harrison Dillard. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ a b "Harrison Dillard". olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Olympians Harrison Dillard and Herb Douglas recall life, times and the 1948 London Summer games
  5. ^ Jackson, Peter (July 24, 2012) London's three Olympic Games compared
  6. ^ http://www.drmirkin.com/histories-and-mysteries/mal-whitfield-olympian-and-tuskegee-airman.html
  7. ^ YNET News: Maccabiah's Best Athletes. ynetnews.com (July 16, 2005)
  8. ^ Dolgan, Bob (November 15, 2019). "Track legend Harrison Dillard, four-time Olympic champion, dies at 96". Cleveland.com. Brooklyn, Ohio: Advance Publications. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Harrison Dillard: Former Olympic 100m and 110m hurdles champion dies aged 96". BBC. November 16, 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit