Armin Hary

Armin Hary

Armin Hary c. 1967
Personal information
Born 22 March 1937 (1937-03-22) (age 79)
Quierschied, Germany
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 71 kg (157 lb)
Sport Sprint running
Club FSV Frankfurt[1][2][3]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 100 m: 10.0 (1960)
200 m: 20.5
400 m: 50.6[1]

Armin Hary (born 22 March 1937) is a German athlete. In 1960 he became the first non-American since 1928 (Percy Williams, Canada) to win the Olympic 100 metres.

After playing football in his youth, Hary switched to sprinting at age 16. Only a few years later, in 1958, he won his first international title when he came first in the 100 m and the 4 × 100 m at the European Championships.[2] He was also one of the first track stars to be affected by the rivalry between Adidas and Puma; each of the two then-fledgling companies wanted the "world's fastest man" to wear its shoes.[3] Rumors of cash payments were floated, but no evidence was ever found to support the claim.

Also in 1958, Hary appeared to have run a new world record with a time of 10.0 seconds, but the track's slope of 11 centimetres (4.33 in) was found to exceed the maximum allowed 10 centimetres (3.94 in). In 1960 Hary set the world record, which was equaled 24 days later, but stood as a European record for eight years less one day.

That same year, at the Olympics, he achieved his greatest moment of fame. After a nerve-wracking number of near-starts, Hary sprinted to the gold in 10.2 seconds to become the first non-American winner of the event since Canadian Percy Williams.[3]

In the final of the 4 × 100 m, Hary and his teammates appeared to have finished second behind the American team, but 15 minutes later the Americans had been disqualified for a faulty exchange. Germany's time, 39.5 seconds, equaled their own world record.[4]

During his career Hary had multiple conflicts with the German Athletics Federation, which eventually suspended him. These conflicts and waning motivation to compete resulted in Hary's retirement from sport in the early 1960s.[3]

In 1980 Hary was sentenced to 18 months in prison for abusing his real estate trader position and defrauding the Catholic Church of 3.2 million German marks. In 2000 he was selected as Germany’s Runner of the Millennium. In 2011 he was inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame.[3]

1960 Olympics, 100 m final, Armin Hary is 1st from left


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Preceded by
Italy Livio Berruti
European Record Holder Men's 100m
21 June 1960 – 19 June 1968
Succeeded by
France Roger Bambuck
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