Harry Jerome

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Harry Jerome
Personal information
Birth nameHenry Winston Jerome
Full nameHenry "Harry" Winston Jerome
Born(1940-09-30)September 30, 1940
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada
DiedDecember 7, 1982(1982-12-07) (aged 42)
SportTrack and field

Henry "Harry" Winston Jerome, OC (September 30, 1940 – December 7, 1982) was a Canadian track and field runner. He was the grandson of John Howard, a railway porter who represented Canada in the 1912 Summer Olympics.

Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he moved to North Vancouver at age 12. In 1970 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Harry Jerome died of a brain aneurysm in December 1982, at the age of 42. His sister, Valerie Jerome, was also an Olympian who competed for Canada at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.[1]

In 2001, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

Athletic career[edit]

He competed at the university level for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. He competed for Canada in the 1960, 1964, and 1968 Summer Olympics, winning 100 metre bronze in 1964. Such were the Olympics, Jerome wore his University of Oregon sweats (rather than the contemporary practice of an official national outfit for all Olympic appearances) to warm up for the Olympic 100 metres in Tokyo. He also won the gold in the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1967 Pan American Games. During his career, Jerome set a total seven world records, including tying the 100 metres in 10.2, 10.1 and finally 10.0 seconds in 1960, tying a record established a month earlier by Germany's Armin Hary. Later he set the world record for the 100 yard dash at 9.2, making Jerome one of the few athletes to own both the 6 yard and 12 meter world record simultaneously. He was a member of the University of Oregon 4 × 100 m relay team that tied the world record of 40.0 seconds in 1962. In 1966 he again tied a world record with a 9.1 time in the 100 yard. From 1963 to 1966 he held or equaled 4 world records concurrently.[2] He continued to sprint successfully until the late 1960s, despite suffering an injury so severe at the Perth Commonwealth Games in 1962 that doctors initially believed he would never walk again.

Post-athletic career[edit]

Jerome earned a master's degree in physical education (University of Oregon). After retiring from athletics in 1969, he was invited by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to help create Canada's new Ministry of Sport. Jerome held a number of senior positions in the ministry but resigned over the government's cancellation of a large-scale public-private partnership he had negotiated with Kellogg's to promote youth participation in athletics. During the 1980s Jerome headed the Premier's Sport Award program in British Columbia, Canada.


Statue of Harry Jerome in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia

In 1984 the Labatts International Track Classic Pre-Olympic meet was renamed the Harry Jerome International Track Classic.[3][4] It has become a prestigious track and field meet held annually at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia - is named in Jerome's honour. The Harry Jerome Sports Complex in North Vancouver, a block from North Vancouver High School where he first went out for track in 1958 and the Harry Jerome Sports Centre, home to the Burnaby Velodrome, in Burnaby, British Columbia is named after Jerome, as are the weight room at his alma mater the University of Oregon and the track and field stadium in Prince Albert.

The Stanley Park sea wall in his native Vancouver is graced with a 9-foot bronze statue of him. The annual Harry Jerome Awards, the national awards dinner for Canada's black community organized by the Black Business and Professionals Association (BBPA), is named after him. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1970, and inducted to the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1971. In 2001 he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame, and in 2010 was named a Person of National Historical Significance (to be eligible, with the exception of Canadian Prime Ministers, the nominee must be deceased a minimum of 25 years).[citation needed]

Works about Jerome[edit]

Production began in April 2009 on a feature-length biographical documentary about Harry Jerome, entitled Mighty Jerome. Directed by Charles Officer and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Vancouver, the film was inspired by Fil Fraser’s book on Jerome, entitled Running Uphill.[5][6]

NFB producer Selwyn Jacob had approached Officer — along with four other directors— in 2007 with idea of making a documentary about Jerome. Officer's proposal was selected by Jacob and the NFB, despite the fact that he had never directed a documentary before.[7]

This black and white film uses archival footage, interviews and dramatizations to explore the life and career of the Canadian track legend. Officer recreated museum installations in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to interview Jerome's contemporaries and family members. His sister Valerie refused to participate in the film, however, due to objections over his portrayal in Fraser's book. The film features a score by Schaun Tozer. The film premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 8, 2010.[7][8][9][10]



  1. ^ "Valerie Jerome Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com.
  2. ^ http://www.sportshall.ca/accessible/hm_profile.php?i=19[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Meet History". Harry Jerome International Track Classic.
  4. ^ Fleming, Andrew. "Archives: Sprinter Harry Jerome sets new Canadian record".
  5. ^ "Charles Officer begins production on NFB Harry Jerome documentary". AfroToronto. April 19, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  6. ^ Lem, Val Ken (June 22, 2007). "Running Uphill: The Fast, Short Life of Canadian Champion Harry Jerome". Canadian Materials. The Manitoba Library Association. XIII (22).
  7. ^ a b Eisner, Ken (September 23, 2010). "VIFF 2010: Mighty Jerome a stylish portrait of one of Canada's greatest athletes". Georgia Straight. Vancouver. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Zacharias, Yvonne (October 8, 2010). "VIFF: The story of Harry Jerome is a moving piece of sports history". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 12, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Schaefer, Glen (October 8, 2010). "REVIEW: Mighty Jerome". Vancouver Province. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Anderson, Kelly (September 30, 2010). "VIFF Preview: "Mighty Jerome"". Realscreen. Retrieved January 12, 2011.

External links[edit]