February 12, 1957 |
Okaloosa County, Florida
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||165 lb (75 kg)|
|Club||Muhammad Ali Track Club|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||60 m: 6.54
100 yd: 9.30
Houston McTear (born February 12, 1957), is a former American sprinter, who emerged from desperate poverty in the Florida Panhandle to become an international track star in the mid-1970s. McTear rated in the top 10 in the 100 meters for the United States from 1975–1980, but he was stronger at shorter distances, including 60 meters. His 1978 world record in the 60 meters (6.54 s) stood up until it was broken by Ben Johnson in 1986. However, his meteoric rise was effectively ended by the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and he subsequently fell into obscurity, drug abuse and homelessness.
McTear was born in Okaloosa County, Florida. While at Baker High School in Baker, Florida, McTear won state titles in the 100 and 220 yards four times, the only Florida high school athlete ever to do so. He recorded an 9.0 mark in the 100-yard dash as a high schooler at the Florida AA High State Meet in the preliminary heats, in Winter Park, Florida, but the world record time was not recognized because it was hand-timed. The time remains the NFHS National High School record in the now discontinued event. He was the 1975 High School Athlete of the Year, as selected by Track and Field News. At the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, McTear ran a 10.16 sec over 100 metres, at the time the fastest ever run under any condition by a Florida high school athlete. It is still No. 3 on the all-time list, only surpassed by Jeffery Demps and Marvin Bracy.
McTear qualified for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal in the 100 meters, but an achilles tendon injury suffered in the Olympic Trials forced him to withdraw from the Olympic field. He was replaced by Johnny "Lam" Jones, who finished sixth. The American 4 x 100 meter relay team won the gold medal, led by McTear's rival Harvey Glance.
McTear appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1978, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 1980, but the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics prevented his participation. From there he fell into drug use and was homeless for three years during the 1980s. He attempted a comeback in the early 1990s and won the 60 meters at the Swedish Indoor Championships in 1990 with a time of 6.68s.
|Year||Event||World rank||US rank|
- "The Glory Road: Stardom and a shanty are the two worlds of the world's fastest". Miami Herald. 1976-01-25.
- "All-Time U.S. Rankings — Men’s 100 Meters".
- "Johnson, Bubka Set Indoor Records". Washington Post. 1986-01-16.
- "All-time men's indoors best 60m". McTear ran a 6.38 in 1980, but that mark has been invalidated due to "questionable timing"; see . If that time were to stand, it would still be the world record.
- Boone's Marvin Bracy is sprinting toward history as one of area's best
- "Sports brief". New York Times. 1975-05-10. p. 13.
- "All-time men's best 100 yards".
- Habib, Hal (2002-05-10). "Sprint king, queen had share of potholes". Palm Beach Post. "'Two of the timers had 8.9 and a third 9.0, so we rounded up to 9.0,' said The Orlando Sentinel's Bill Buchalter."
- Boone’s Marvin Bracy runs another career-best to win U.S. junior 100
- Shapiro, Leonard (1978-02-16). "McTear's Diet Has Changed, but Not His Victory Rate". Washington Post.
- Fish, Mike (1995-10-22). "Houston McTear: He was a flash of speed leaping from an impoverished childhood in Florida". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Winitz, Mark. "High School Olympians--Could there be one on your track team?". American Track and Field.
- McVay, Ken (1999-03-10). "Crimson Tide track coach to get another glance at PC". The News Herald.
- "Off on a record tear". Sports Illustrated. 1978-03-06.
- "McTear back on track after disastrous '80s". Toronto Star (CP). 1992-01-18.
- "Swedish Indoor Championships".
- Curran, Tom (2008-06-27). "'I'm Houston McTear!'".
- "World Rankings Index--Men's 100 meters". Track and Field News.
- "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 100 meters". Track and Field News.