Harry Jerome was a very special British Columbian. He set six track and field world records, won gold medals, received the Order of Canada, worked for the Governments of Canada and BC, received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Science, and created the Premier's Sport Awards Program.
Harry was raised in North Vancouver and graduated from North Vancouver Senior High. He attended the University of Oregon where he received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Science.
After setting a world record in the 100 metres in 10.0 seconds flat, Harry went to the 1960 Olympic Games. He suffered a leg muscle injury during the race. The media called him a "quitter". His leg healed and Harry set more Canadian and World records. In 1962, he attended the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, but again during the race he tore a leg muscle that looked severe enough to end his career. People were claiming that Harry was a failure.
But in the 1964 Olympic Games, Harry raced to win the Bronze Olympic medal, just missing the silver medal. Many said it was one of the greatest comebacks of sport*.
During the next four years, Harry set another world record, won Gold at the Commonwealth and Pan American Games, and placed seventh in his third Olympic Games in 1968. Throughout the world, Harry is renowned as the great Canadian sprinter, remaining at the top of world class sprinting for ten years.
After Harry retired from sport in 1968, he became a sport consultant for the Government of Canada. He also coached soccer in Ottawa and Vancouver, and in 1978 he began working with the BC Government to create the Premier's Sport Awards Program.
Harry wanted every child in BC to be able to play sports for fun and to do her/his best. To achieve these goals, children had to develop their basic skills.
In 1982, at the age of 42, Harry unexpectedly died. But his memory lives on in the minds of people all over the world, and his work on behalf of children and youth lives on in the BC Premier's Sport Awards Program.
*At the Sport BC Annual Athlete of the Year Banquet, the "Harry Jerome Comeback Award" is given to an exceptional athlete who overcomes serious setbacks to excel once more in competitive sport, see Sport BC
NOTE: Teachers and students can learn more about Harry through BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum's Hero in You. This unique program brings athletes' stories to life in the classroom and motivates children to find the champion within themselves. The Hero In You education program is organized into five mini-units: Each lesson can be taught using two to three 40-minute blocks and includes teaching concepts, computer lab support information and suggestions for lesson extensions. A 83-minute documentary, Mighty Jerome, is also available.