Sime at the 1960 Olympics
|Full name||David William Sime|
July 25, 1936|
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
January 12, 2016 (aged 79)|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Duke University, 1958|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|Club||Duke Blue Devils, Durham|
David William Sime (//; 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 and ranked as one of the fastest humans of all time. He held several sprint records during the late 1950s.
Sime was born on July 25, 1936, in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Evelyn and Charles Sime, neither of whom graduated from high school. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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; 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. 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.
A slightly different story told by an All-American baseball player at North Carolina (Lacy Hall) during the same time was that Sime was not that great at baseball. Batted like .225 and when UNC played Duke in baseball they agreed to allow Sime to get a hit (a ground-ball error charged to the UNC short stop) just so Carolina could watch him run the bases. Lacy said his first track meet was at the Univ. of Maryland and he broke 4 World Records (2 of which lasted for 10 years, and yes he had never run track in his life). Also not mentioned was the first football game he played in for Duke. It was against Notre Dame and he was a "lonesome end" (an old term used for wide receivers split out wide by themselves). He scored a 60-yard touchdown reception on the first play. On the ensuing possession by Duke, Sime scored on a 40-yard reception. After that Notre Dame had 3 guys on him the entire game and Duke defeated Notre Dame that day. Sime was slated to win 3 Gold Medals at the 1960 Olympics but tore his groin muscle (not sure when that occurred) and it basically ended his career. It was probably the 1964 Olympics that he was favored in but as a result of the injury he did not compete. According to Lacy, Sime's only scholarship was the baseball scholarship.
Sime was unable to make the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne due to a leg injury in his first attempt to ride a horse, 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.
He anchored the U.S. to an apparent victory in the 4×100 m relay. However, the U.S. team was disqualified for passing out of the zone, and Sime lost his chance at an Olympic gold medal. During his career, he held world records at 100 yards, 220 yards, and the 220 yd low hurdles.
On the eve of the Rome Olympics, Sime was approached by the Central Intelligence Agency and recruited to help secure the defection of Soviet athlete Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. Sime approached Ter-Ovanesyan and introduced him to a CIA agent in Rome, but that agent's manner frightened Ter-Ovanesyan off and he did not defect.
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.
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.
Sime's youngest child Lisa attended Stanford University, where she was a standout soccer player. There she met her future husband, Ed McCaffrey, a Cardinal football player who went on to win three Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl during a 13-year NFL career. Their son Christian McCaffrey followed his parents to Stanford and plays football. As a sophomore in 2015, he was the AP College Football Player of the Year and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
After a lengthy battle with cancer, Sime died at age 79 in 2016.
- "Dave Sime joins Duke football team". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 8, 1958. p. 2C.
- Murray, Jim (March 21, 1979). "A gold medal to see". Schenectady Gazette. (New York). (Los Angeles Times). p. 31.
- Dave Sime. sports-reference.com
- Kimmey, Will (August 20, 2001). "Dave Sime, fastest human (July 2, 1956)". Sports Illustrated. p. 20.
- 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.
- Kaufman, Michelle (January 14, 2016). "David Sime, Olympian and doctor, dies at 79". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- "Dr. David William Sime (1936-2016)". Miami Herald. (obituary). January 15, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- 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."
- 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."
- John Walters (November 20, 2015). "Dave Sime: Olympian, Physician, and Grandfather to a Heisman Candidate". Newsweek.
- Padwe, Sandy (November 23, 1966). "Dr. Sime is keeping an eye on track". Fort Scott Tribune. (Kansas). NEA. p. 10.
- "Dave Sime leads double duty men". Sarasota Journal. (Florida). Associated Press. May 10, 1957. p. 16.
- "Scouts eye Sime hungrily". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. June 5, 1957. p. 9.
- "College baseball all-stars named". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. June 21, 1957. p. 12.
- "Sime smashes meet record". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). Associated Press. April 29, 1956. p. 2c.
- Terrell, Roy (July 2, 1956). "And now the biggest battle of all". Sports Illustrated. p. 6.
- Bill Hensley (February 18, 2011). "The Ballad of Dave Sime". Duke Chronicle.
- "The Sime affair". Sports Illustrated. July 2, 1956. p. 9.
- "Crowd boos when U.S. relay team disqualified". Bend Bulletin. (Oregon). UPI. September 8, 1960. p. 1.
- Maraniss, p. 26
- Maraniss, p. 257
- 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.
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