Dave Sime

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Dave Sime
Dave Sime 1960.jpg
Dave Sime at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Full name David William Sime
Nationality American
Born (1936-07-25)July 25, 1936
Paterson, New Jersey, United States
Died January 12, 2016(2016-01-12) (aged 79)
Miami, Florida, United States
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 81 kg (179 lb)
Sport Sprint running
Club Duke Blue Devils, Durham
100 m final at the 1960 Olympics. Sime is on the far right

David William "Dave" Sime (/sɪm/; July 25, 1936 – January 12, 2016) was an American sprinter. He ranked as one of the fastest humans of all time, holding several sprint records during the late 1950s.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born on July 25, 1936 in Paterson, New Jersey, Sime grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where he attended Fair Lawn High School. He was a charter member of the Fair Lawn High School Athletics Hall of Fame.[2][3]

Sime tried to attend West Point, as his dream was to become a pilot, but upon learning he was colorblind accepted a baseball scholarship from Duke University.[4]

Duke University[edit]

Sime was a member of Duke's baseball, football, and track and field teams. His beginnings in track were accidental. His 100-yard dash on an unmowed grass surface was a rapid 9.8 seconds, and the coaches soon asked him to join the track team. He achieved his greatest collegiate victory as a sophomore at the 1956 Drake Relays where he was named the meet's outstanding performer after setting a meet record in the 100-yard dash in :09.4, while handing Bobby Morrow of Abilene Christian his first loss in over 30 races in the 100. He would later be inducted into the Drake Relays Athlete Hall of Fame in 1959.[5] He was named the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1956 for his accomplishments in track and baseball. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1956 as a sprinter.[4]

After college, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 29th round (341st overall) of the 1959 NFL Draft, but he opted not to join the NFL, instead choosing to go to the Duke University School of Medicine.

In 2010, Duke named him their most outstanding athlete of the 20th century.[4][6] He died of cancer in 2016.[7]


Unable to make the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne due to a leg injury in his first attempt to ride a horse,[4] Sime did compete in Rome four years later, and was second to Armin Hary in the Olympic 100 m. 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.

CIA mission[edit]

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.[4][8] 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.[9]


Graduating in the top 10% of his class at the Duke University School of Medicine, Sime never played sports professionally, instead becoming an ophthalmologist in Florida, where he was a pioneer in intraocular lens transplants.[4][6]


Sime's eldest child, daughter Sherrie, went to the University of Virginia, where she was the school's top-ranked singles tennis player.

Sime's middle child, 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.[10]

Sime's youngest child, daughter Lisa, would go on to Stanford University, where she was a standout soccer player. At Stanford, Lisa met her future husband, Ed McCaffrey, who would go on to win three Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl during a 13-year NFL career.[4] Their son, Christian McCaffrey, followed his parents to Stanford, where he plays football, winning the 2015 AP College Football Player of the Year and coming in second for the 2015 Heisman Trophy as a sophomore.


  1. ^ Dave Sime. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ Roberts, Jeff (April 25, 2010). "Intriguing People: Dave Sime". The Record (Bergen County). Retrieved June 25, 2013.  "This was the moment that changed everything for the Paterson-born, Fair Lawn-bred Sime."
  3. ^ 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."
  4. ^ a b c d e f g John Walters (November 20, 2015). "Dave Sime: Olympian, Physician, and Grandfather to a Heisman Candidate". Newsweek. 
  5. ^ DrakeRelays
  6. ^ a b Bill Hensley (February 18, 2011). "The Ballad of Dave Sime". Duke Chronicle. 
  7. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/college/state-college-sports/article54824395.html
  8. ^ Maraniss, p. 26
  9. ^ Maraniss, p. 257
  10. ^ 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]