Dave Sime

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Dave Sime
Dave Sime 1960.jpg
Sime at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Full nameDavid William Sime
Born(1936-07-25)July 25, 1936
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJanuary 12, 2016(2016-01-12) (aged 79)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationDuke University, 1958
M.D. 1962
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight195 lb (88 kg)[1]
Event(s)sprint running
ClubDuke Blue Devils, Durham
Medal record

David William Sime (/sɪm/; July 25, 1936 – January 12, 2016) was an American sprinter, multi-sport athlete at Duke University, and a pioneering ophthalmologist. He won a silver medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1960 Olympic Games. He held several sprint records during the late 1950s.[2][3][4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Sime was born on July 25, 1936, in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Evelyn and Charles Sime,[7] neither of whom graduated from high school.[8] He grew up in Fair Lawn and played football and baseball at Fair Lawn High School, but did not run track. He was a charter member of the Fair Lawn High School Athletics Hall of Fame.[9][8]

Sime applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point, as his dream was to become a pilot, but discovered he was color blind and accepted a baseball scholarship to Duke University in North Carolina.[10]

Duke University[edit]

Sime was a member of Duke's baseball and track and field teams, and played football for a season in 1958, while a first-year medical school student.[1][8] His beginnings in track were accidental: his 100-yard dash on an unmowed grass surface in baseball shoes was a rapid 9.8 seconds, and the coaches soon asked him to join the track team. Opting not to play freshman football, he had gone out for fall track to stay in shape for baseball.[11] Sime hit over .400 as a freshman and had the intention continuing in baseball for coach Ace Parker, but his success during winter track changed that. Parker was a former multi-sport athlete and recognized the exceptional speed and Olympic potential; Sime focused on track in 1956, then split time between both sports in 1957.[12][13][14]

Sime achieved his greatest collegiate victory as a 19-year-old sophomore at the Drake Relays in April 1956, where he was named the meet's outstanding performer after setting a meet record in the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds;[15] he handed Bobby Morrow of Abilene Christian his first loss in over thirty races in the 100, and was inducted into the Drake Relays Athlete Hall of Fame in 1959.[16] Sime was named the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1956 for his accomplishments in track and baseball. Prior to the Olympic trials, he and Morrow appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1956.[10][17]

Sime was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 29th round (341st overall) of the 1959 NFL Draft, but he opted not to play football professionally and continued at medical school.

In 2010, Duke named him their most outstanding athlete of the 20th century.[10][18]


100 m final photo finish at the 1960 Olympics; Sime is at the far right in Lane 1

Sime was unable to make the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne due to a leg injury in his first attempt to ride a horse,[10][19] but he competed in Rome four years later and won a silver medal when he was edged out by Armin Hary of Germany in a photo finish in the 100 meters.[5]

He anchored the U.S. to an apparent victory in the 4 × 100 m relay. The team finished first in a world record time of 39.4 s but was disqualified because at the first exchange from Budd to Norton, Norton started too early and the exchange happened outside the changeover box.[5][20] During his career, he held world records at 100 yards, 220 yards, and the 220 yd low hurdles.

During the Rome Olympics, Sime worked with the CIA trying to entice Soviet long-jumper Igor Ter-Ovanesyan to defect; the attempt failed.[21]


Sime never played sports professionally. He graduated in the top 10% of his class at the Duke University School of Medicine. He then practiced medicine as an ophthalmologist in Florida, where he was a pioneer in intraocular lens transplants.[10][18]

Personal life[edit]

Sime's eldest child, Sherrie, went to the University of Virginia, where she was the school's top-ranked singles tennis player. His son Scott was a state wrestling champion and all-state football player at Coral Gables High School before going on to his father's alma mater at Duke, where he was a starting fullback.[4][22]

Sime's youngest child, Lisa, attended Stanford University, where she was a standout soccer player. There she met her future husband, Ed McCaffrey, a Stanford Cardinal football player who went on to win three Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl during a 13-year NFL career.[4][10] Their first two sons, his grandsons Max McCaffrey and Christian McCaffrey, are an American football coach and a current NFL wide receiver free agent, currently the wide receivers coach for the UNC Bears at the University of Northern Colorado, and currently the highest-paid running back in the NFL, respectively.

After following his parents to Stanford—where he played for the Cardinals (between 2014, 2015 and 2016)—as a sophomore in 2015, Christian was named the AP College Football Player of the Year and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Christian was selected 8th overall in the 2017 Draft as a running back for his current team, the Carolina Panthers.

After a lengthy battle with cancer, Sime died at age 79 in 2016.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Dave Sime joins Duke football team". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 8, 1958. p. 2C.
  2. ^ Murray, Jim (March 21, 1979). "A gold medal to see". Schenectady Gazette. (New York). (Los Angeles Times). p. 31.
  3. ^ Dave Sime. sports-reference.com
  4. ^ a b c Kimmey, Will (August 20, 2001). "Dave Sime, fastest human (July 2, 1956)". Sports Illustrated. p. 20.
  5. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (January 15, 2016). "Dave Sime dies at 79; world's fastest sprinter, but far from its luckiest". New York Times. (obituary). Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Kaufman, Michelle (January 14, 2016). "David Sime, Olympian and doctor, dies at 79". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  7. ^ "Dr. David William Sime (1936-2016)". Miami Herald. (obituary). January 15, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Associated Press (May 6, 1956). "Sime Has Great Day, Breaks World Record". The Miami News. Retrieved August 31, 2011."The 190-pound Fair Lawn, N.J., sophomore, a hot prospect for the U.S. Olympic team, won the 100-yard dash in 9.4, his sixth such performance this year."
  9. ^ Roberts, Jeff (April 25, 2010). "Intriguing People: Dave Sime". The Record. (Bergen County, New Jersey). Retrieved June 25, 2013. "This was the moment that changed everything for the Paterson-born, Fair Lawn-bred Sime."
  10. ^ a b c d e f John Walters (November 20, 2015). "Dave Sime: Olympian, Physician, and Grandfather to a Heisman Candidate". Newsweek.
  11. ^ Padwe, Sandy (November 23, 1966). "Dr. Sime is keeping an eye on track". Fort Scott Tribune. (Kansas). NEA. p. 10.
  12. ^ "Dave Sime leads double duty men". Sarasota Journal. (Florida). Associated Press. May 10, 1957. p. 16.
  13. ^ "Scouts eye Sime hungrily". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. June 5, 1957. p. 9.
  14. ^ "College baseball all-stars named". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. June 21, 1957. p. 12.
  15. ^ "Sime smashes meet record". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). Associated Press. April 29, 1956. p. 2c.
  16. ^ DrakeRelays
  17. ^ Terrell, Roy (July 2, 1956). "And now the biggest battle of all". Sports Illustrated. p. 6.
  18. ^ a b Bill Hensley (February 18, 2011). "The Ballad of Dave Sime". Duke Chronicle.
  19. ^ "The Sime affair". Sports Illustrated. July 2, 1956. p. 9.
  20. ^ "Crowd boos when U.S. relay team disqualified". Bend Bulletin. (Oregon). UPI. September 8, 1960. p. 1.
  21. ^ Bull, Andy (May 17, 2020). "Olympic espionage: US sprinter Dave Sime, the CIA and the 1960 Games". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  22. ^ Patrick Saunders (November 28, 1999). "Broncos' Ed McCaffrey, wife, Lisa, both come from long line of athletes". The Denver Post.
  • Maraniss, David (2008). Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World. New York, Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-3407-5.

External links[edit]