As pointed out in Brooks for Sports, and in The Nashville City Paper, LSU's football player/sprinter Trindon Holliday will be completing in the NCAA championships this week in Des Moines Iowa's Drake Stadium. LSU either shaved time off Holliday's records or added precious 0.01 seconds on to ex-Florida A and M, and ex-Dallas Cowboy sprinter/NFL great Bob Hayes, to conclude the LSU sprinter is the fastest football player in history.
Bullet Bob Hayes played halfback for Florida A and M from 1960 to 1964, and for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1974? Hayes won a Superbowl ring, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the 100M Dash. Hayes was bigger, stronger, and faster than Holliday...and more accomplished. To the Nashville paper:
LSU this summer is touting junior wide receiver Trindon Holliday as the fastest player in college football. Ever.
That’s right. Not even Bob Hayes, Herschel Walker or Willie Gault can match Holliday’s speed, according to Tigers football publicists.
Only 69 people have ever run it faster and, according to LSU, none have ever played football or were playing at the time they were clocked.
Holliday, who scored two touchdowns last season, is hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team next month. If you saw LSU play last season, you know how dynamic he can be with the ball in his hands.
“He is a football player with track ability,” Tigers football coach Les Miles told CBSSports.com.
“Just like playing football for LSU is very, very important to him, this is too,” added LSU track coach Dennis Shaver.
Not so fast, LSU....is Holliday faster than Rocket Bob Hayes...who won the 1964 Olympics with a 10.00 100M dash? Isn't 10.02 slower than 10.00? Not in Bayou Bengal math. However, it grows even slower when looking at Bob Hayes's remarkable sprinting career. Hayes clearly was faster than Holliday; following his track career, Hayes starred in the NFL at Dallas.
1963 started with two blistering long sprint WRs - 20.5 for 200m in Pointe a Pitre on 10 February to equal the World Record, and a 20.5 for 220y (worth 20.4 for 200m) at Coral Gables on 2nd March. Following this came two landmark short sprint times. First, on 27th April, Hayes became the first man to run 100m in under 10.0, with a wind assisted 9.9 at the MSR in Walnut (beating Henry Carr and John Gilbert, both of whom ran 10.0w). Then, at the AAU in St Louis on 21st June he ran 9.1 for 100y in his semi final, the first such time ever. He repeated the time to win the final, albeit wind assisted...
Moving outdoors again (1964), Hayes twice more ran 9.1 for 100y, at Orangeburg on 18th April and at Nashville on 2nd May. Neither was ratified as a WR - a recurring theme during Hayes career. He then won the Olympic trials 100m in 10.1 and placed third in the 200m (he gave his spot up for WR holder Henry Carr, who went on to win in Tokyo).
On to Tokyo in October, the zenith and the final act of Hayes' brief career. He breezed through the heats and quarters in 10.4 and 10.3 respectively on 14th October. The next day, at 10am, he produced an amazing semi final run of 9.91 with a 5.3m/s wind behind him. This was the first time anyone had beaten 10.00 with auto timing, and it remainded the fastest ever run until William Snoddy got on the end of an 11.2m/s wind in Dallas in 1977 and ran 9.87. No one ran faster in the Olympics (aside from Ben Johnson) until, incredibly, the three medallists in Atlanta, 32 years later!
If it is hard to fathom the quality of this run, what he achieved in the final is even more staggering. Hayes drew the inside lane for the final, and the last event before the race was the finish of the 20km walk. Remember, this was a cinder track, and the inside lane was so chewed up it had to be raked! Nevertheless, Hayes won in 10.06. He had a 0.19 gap over Cuba's Enrique Figuerola, who equalled the previous best ever auto time of 10.25 (Hary in 1960). Third was Harry Jerome, joint world record holder! This victory margin was not exceeded until Lewis won by 0.20 in 1984. The winning time was ratified as a WR equalling 10.0, which somewhat understated.
In the Olympics, Hayes ran on a cinder track with borrowed spikes. And more:
It is always fun to wonder what champions of the past would achieve given today's training methods, nutrition, financial rewards, competition etc. Hayes achieved all of the above before his 22nd Birthday, running in the football off-season, on mostly cinder tracks. He estimated that had he carried on he could have brought his 100m time down by "a couple of tenths." My personal view is that if Hayes had trained full time to his mid twenties, run on today's tracks and had today's social, nutritional and training benefits, he would be running 100m in at least the low 9.70s and maybe even under 9.70.
Consider this sophisticated analysis of the greatest sprinter of the second half of the 20th century (he ran an incredible 8.6 100M leg at Toyoko too):
Consider the advantages Hayes would have had in '68 vs '64. Top competition for a start. A synthetic track. Altitude. 4 more years training. He had already run 9.9w (in '63) and 9.91w (in '64). The hand timing in Tokyo was 9.9 - 9.9 - 9.8. So it's fair to assume that we would have had a 9.9 WR well before Jim Hines managed the feat in the '68 AAU. Considering Hines ran 10.03 in the '68 AAU, just 3/100ths faster than Hayes had run on a cinder track in Tokyo, it's probably fair to assume that at least one auto-timer would have caught Hayes in under 10.00 before Mexico City. So already we've re-written the history of 100m running, with Hayes the first man under 10 seconds with hand-timing (windy and legal) and auto timing (windy and legal) all at sea level. Now, we get to Mexico City. Hines ran 0.08 faster in MC than his sea-level best (9.95 vs 10.03). Assuming Hayes would already have been down to around 9.95 - 9.99 it's easy to imagine him running 9.90 or faster. In fact, I consider that an extremely conservative estimate because I'm ascribing Hayes likely improvements from Tokyo to Mexico City to the track, competition and altitude, without wondering if he might actually have got FASTER with time (not unreasonable, although also not certain).