1968 Sports Hall of Fame Inductee - Harry Jerome

Induction Year: 1968
Sport: Athletics
Category: Athlete

Harry Jerome

Brian Kent photo; North Vancouver Museum and Archives collection (#5349)


Just one year after taking up sprinting at North Vancouver High, Harry Jerome burst upon the track world in 1959 by beating the 31-year-old Vancouver & District inter-high school’s 220-yards record established in 1928 by double Olympic gold medalist Percy Williams. It was the beginning of Jerome’s illustrious career at the world-class level for a remarkable ten years.

In three successive years, he equaled world records in the 100 meters (10.0 seconds, 1960), 100 yards (9.3, 1961), 4x110 yards relay (as anchor of the University of Oregon’s relay team in 40.0, 1962) and the 100 yards again (9.2, 1962). 

Following a serious leg injury during the 100-yards final at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962 – which kept him out of action more than a year and threatened to end his career – Jerome staged what many consider the greatest comeback from an injury in track history. In 1964 he tied the world 60-yards indoor mark, won the NCAA 100m and placed third in the 100m and fourth in the 200m at the Tokyo Olympics. In 1966 he equaled the new world 100-yards record of 9.1 seconds at the Canadian championships (as well as setting a Canadian 220-yards mark) and was victorious in the 100 yards at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. He won gold in the 100m at the 1967 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg and placed seventh in the 100m in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, his third Olympics and final international race.

Harry’s sports legacy also includes his work promoting fitness with the federal and provincial governments, such as B.C.’s Premier’s Sport Award program which he designed and directed.

He was inducted into the North Shore Sports Hall of Fame in its first year (1968) as well as the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1963), BC Sports Hall of Fame (1966), Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1971) and Canadian Walk of Fame (2001). In 1970 he received the Officer Order of Canada. The Harry Jerome Track Classic which began in 1983 and the Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre in North Vancouver are named for him.