Saturday, 31 May 2014


                BLACK                   SOCIAL             HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                         Henry "Harry" Winston JeromeOC (September 30, 1940 – December 7, 1982) was a Canadian track and field runner. He was the grandson of John Howard, a railway porter who represented Canada in the 1912 Summer Olympics.
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. 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]

Athletic career

He competed at the university level for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. He competed for Canada in the 19601964, and1968 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 Hary. 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.

Post-athletic career

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.


In 1984, the Labatts International Track Classic Pre-Olympic meet was renamed the Harry Jerome International Track Classic. It has become a prestigious track and field meet held annually at Swangard Stadium in BurnabyBritish Columbia - is named in Jerome's honour. The Harry Jerome Sports Complex in North Vancouver, a block from North Vancouver High School where he first went out for track in 1958 and the Harry Jerome Sports Centre, home to the Burnaby Velodrome, in BurnabyBritish Columbia is named after Jerome, as are the weight room at his Alma Mater the University of Oregon and the track and field stadium in Prince Albert. The Stanley Park sea wall in his native Vancouver is graced with a 9-foot bronze statue of him. The annual Harry Jerome Awards, the national awards dinner for Canada's black community organized by the Black Business and Professionals Association (BBPA), is named after him. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1970, and inducted to the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1971. In 2001 he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame, and in 2010 was named a Person of National Historical Significance (to be eligible, with the exception of Canadian Prime Ministers, the nominee must be deceased a minimum of 25 years).

Works about Jerome

Production began in April 2009 on a feature-length biographical documentary about Harry Jerome, entitled Mighty Jerome. Directed by Charles Officer and produced by theNational Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Vancouver, the film was inspired by Fil Fraser’s book on Jerome, entitled Running Uphill.[3][4]
NFB producer Selwyn Jacob had approached Officer — along with four other directors— in 2007 with idea of making a documentary about Jerome. Officer's proposal was selected by Jacob and the NFB, despite the fact that he had never directed a documentary before.[5]
This black and white film uses archival footageinterviews and dramatizations to explore the life and career of the Canadian track legend. Officer recreated museum installations in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to interview Jerome's contemporaries and family members. His sister Valerie refused to participate in the film, however, due to objections over his portrayal in Fraser’s book. The film features a score by Schaun Tozer. The film premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 8, 2010.[5][6][7][8]