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Harrison Dillard, Olympic 100m, 110m hurdles champ, dies

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Harrison Dillard, who was the U.S.’ oldest living Olympic champion, died after battling stomach cancer at age 96 on Friday, according to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and USA Track and Field.

Dillard was the only sprinter to win Olympic gold medals in the 100m and 110m hurdles, doing so in 1948 and 1952, respectively.

He also won 4x100m relay titles at each Games to match the career gold-medal total of Jesse Owens, whose victory parade in Dillard’s native Cleveland proved an inspiration for the 13-year-old.

“Some of us youngsters were standing on the curb when he came by in this open black car,” Dillard said, according to The New York Times. “He was wearing a black suit with pinstripes, and he said something like, ‘Hi, boys.’ I ran home and said, ‘Mama! Mama! I saw Jesse Owens, and I’m going to be just like him!’ She said, ‘Of course you are, son.’

“She didn’t take it seriously then, but later when she saw how much it meant to me she went out and cleaned other people’s houses and did their laundry and cooked for them so she could buy a little more food to build me up.”

Owens later gave Dillard his first pair of running shoes.

Dillard began hurdling earlier at age 8 — in an alley and using abandoned car seat springs as barriers, according to the International Olympic Committee.

“As inner city kids in Cleveland,” Dillard said, according to the Times, “we had three idols — Owens, Joe Louis and Henry Armstrong, who held three boxing championships. I wasn’t a fighter. I tried boxing, but every time I caught a jab my nose bled. In sandlot football I was fast enough to run with the ball but too small. I was a good baseball player; I could pitch and play shortstop and the outfield, the way all kids do, and I was a switch-hitter. But this was before Jackie Robinson, when there was no place for blacks in baseball.”

Dillard, nicknamed “Bones” for being slender, served in World War II in Europe as a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, African-American troops who fought in Italy from 1943-45, according to the OlyMADMen.

Three years after the war, Dillard returned to Europe to compete in the 1948 London Games, but not in his primary event.

At trials, he had an 82-race win streak in the hurdles snapped, failing to finish.

“I hit the second, third, fourth and fifth hurdles with the heel of my leading foot, and by the eighth my timing was off so bad that I finished last, the only time I ever did,” Dillard said in 1979, according to the Times.

No matter, he had placed third in the 100m at trials and then pulled off the upset for the Olympic title by outleaning countryman Barney Ewell in 10.3 seconds.

Four years later, Dillard did make the 110m hurdles team and led a U.S. medals sweep at the Helsinki Games, clocking 13.7 seconds.

U.S. finishes world para track and field championships fourth in medals

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The U.S. finished fourth in total medals at the world para track and field championships in Dubai, its first time outside the top three since the 2012 London Games.

Longtime powers China and Russia and breakthrough Brazil topped the standings after the nine-competition finished Friday. The U.S. ended up with 34 medals, including 12 golds. Full results are here.

American stars included sprinter Deja Young, who earned 200m and universal 4x100m relay golds, plus 100m silver behind countrywoman Brittni Mason, who broke Young’s world record.

Young attempted suicide while struggling with depression and anxiety leading up to the Rio Paralympics. She went on to sweep the 100m and 200m in Brazil, then did the same at the 2017 Worlds.

Roderick Townsend earned high jump gold and long jump silver in Dubai, two years after sweeping those events in Rio.

Daniel Romanchuk, who repeated as New York City Marathon wheelchair champion two weeks ago, earned his first world medal on the track, gold in the 800m.

Tatyana McFadden, a seven-time world champion on the track, did not compete this year after placing second at the New York City Marathon.

MORE: Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

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Another Jesse Owens Olympic gold medal being sold

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One of Jesse Owens‘ four 1936 Olympic gold medals will be put up for sale next week by Goldin Auctions.

Owens triumphed in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany at the Berlin Games, taking the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

This could be the second Owens gold to be sold in recent years, after one was auctioned in 2013 for $1,466,574, the highest price ever for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.

Two more were said to be put up for auction in 2017, but there are no widespread reports of sales actually happening.

This gold medal was gifted by Owens to John Terpak, a U.S. Olympic weightlifter in 1936 and 1948, after Terpak helped Owens garner speaking engagements, according to Goldin. The previous gold that sold for $1.4 million was gifted by Owens to a different friend.

Terpak died in 1993 and passed the medal on to his son and daughter, who consigned it to Goldin.

The medal is part of Goldin Auctions’ Holiday Auction from Monday through Dec. 7 on GoldinAuctions.com. The listings also include Tommy Lasorda‘s autographed lineup card from the 2000 Olympic baseball gold-medal game.

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MORE: Sun Yang should get lengthy ban if he loses doping hearing, WADA says

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