Harry Jerome

Henry “Harry” Winston JeromeOC (September 30, 1940 – December 7, 1982) was a Canadian track and field runner. Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he moved to North Vancouver at age 12. In 1970 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was the grandson of John Howard, a railway porter who represented Canada in the 1912 Summer Olympics.

He competed in college for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. He competed for Canada in the 19601964, and 1968 Summer Olympics, winning 100 metre bronze in 1964. He also won the gold in the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1967 Pan American Games. During his career, Jerome set a total seven world records, including tying the 100 metres in 10.2, 10.1 and finally 10.0 seconds in 1960, tying a record established a month earlier by Germany’s Armin Hary. The 1960 world record “tie” by Jerome was hand timed (as all events were prior to electronic timing, beginning in 1972) at 9.90 at the Canadian Olympic trials held in Saskatoon, SK Canada but track officials refused to believe the time, so it was rounded to 10.0 to match the previous month’s world record set by Harry. Later he set the world record for the 100 yard dash at 9.2, making Jerome the only athlete to own both the 100 yard and 100 meter world record simultaneously. He was a member of the University of Oregon 4x100m relay team that tied the world record of 40.0 seconds in 1962. In 1966 he again tied a world record with a 9.1 time in the 100 yard. From 1963 to 1966 he held or equaled 4 world records concurrently.[2] He continued to sprint successfully until the late 1960s, despite suffering an injury so severe at the Perth Commonwealth Games in 1962 that doctors initially believed he would never walk again.

Jerome earned a Masters degree in Physical Education (University of Oregon). After retiring from athletics in 1969, he was invited by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to help create Canada’s new Ministry of Sport. Jerome held a number of senior positions in the ministry but resigned over the government’s cancellation of a large-scale public-private partnership he had negotiated with Kellogg’s to promote youth participation in athletics. During the 1980s Jerome headed the Premier’s Sport Award program in British Columbia, Canada.

Harry Jerome died of a brain aneurysm in December 1982, at the age of 42. His sister, Valerie Jerome, was also an Olympian who competed for Canada at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.[1]

Harry Jerome