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USATF Track & Field Hall of Fame Q&A: Lindy Remigino


In advance of National Track & Field Hall of Fame induction ceremony at USATF Black Tie & Sneakers Gala on November 2 in New York City, USATF interviewed Class of 2017 inductees on their athletic careers and legacies.


Today's feature: Lindy Remigino


Veteran Athlete Inductee Lindy Remigino shocked the track and field world at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, winning the 100 meters in the closest sprint race in Olympic history. Remigino doubled his medal haul by winning gold as part of the U.S. 4x100m relay.


Remigino later became one of the top high school coaches in the nation, leading his alma mater, Hartford (Connecticut) Public High School, to 31 team titles and producing 157 individual state champions. he is a member of 10 other halls of fame.


How did you get started in track and field and when did you first realize your potential?

I went to the YMCA and they had what they called a play day. My brother was four years older than I was and said, “Let’s go and have some fun.” One of the activities was 60 yards. You had to run down, touch the wall, and come back. They entered me in the race, and I was only 12 years old. All the other guys were in high school. I won the race by almost 10 yards, and they came up to me and said when I got to high school in the fall, I should talk to the coach and he would love to have me since I just beat all the high school kids. I said, “I can’t! I’m only 12.” That was the beginning of my track career.


What were your thoughts in Helsinki as you were waiting for the results from the Olympic final to be posted?

I said to an official that I thought it was going to be a tie, and I wanted to see the photo. The official said, “Mr. Remigino, you have won.” I won by about one inch. I should have won that race by about a yard. I got off to a good start and was leading by quite a bit. I was saying to myself, “I’m gonna win this!” I stuck my chest out, and it was 20 meters before the line. My strides got smaller and smaller, and I almost blew it.


What single moment in your track and field career stands out to you?

Number one was making the Olympic Trials. I finished fifth in the NCAA, and fifth sounds bad, but I was pretty close to second place. I was pretty confident I would do well if I made it to the Trials. By finishing fifth, I did qualify, and since the NCAA season was over after nationals, I trained with the NYAC. I ended up second behind Art Bragg in the final of the Trials and made the Olympic team.


What does your legacy in track and field mean to you?

My son, Michael, has two sons who are runners. I try and watch them as much as I can. One is a freshman, one is a senior. The freshman is a better runner right now because the senior had surgery on his leg, but he is getting better and is on the varsity. They’re both taller than me, over six feet. Michael ran 1:49.95 (in the 800) in high school. He qualified for all the major meets, and I went all over the country following him. I coached for about 30 years in high school and I had two guys run 1:51. I love track and field, and I watch all the meets I can. I have been to many meets around the world.


What is the biggest thing that has changed in track and field since you competed?

Weight lifting. Everyone lifts weights now. We didn’t lift weights because everyone said it would make us big and heavy, and we wouldn’t be able to run fast. I even knew Olympic champions back then who smoked.


What was your reaction to being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

I was delighted. I belong to 10 halls of fame already, and this will be the 11th. I never thought I would get in. It’s my last hall of fame.

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