US sprinter Henry Carr (Getty Images) © Copyright
Iaaf News Monaco

1964 Olympic 200m champion Henry Carr dies

The IAAF is saddened to learn of the death of 1964 Olympic 200m champion Henry Carr, who died on Saturday (30) after suffering from cancer. He was 72 years old.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, in November 1942, Carr started out in athletics at a relatively young age. In 1962, at the age of 19, he ran a 200m PB of 20.5, making him the third-fastest man in the world that year.

One year later, competing as a sprinter for Arizona State University, he set a world record of 20.3 over 200 yards. He then improved that mark to 20.2 in 1964 on the same track in Tempe, Arizona.

But it was at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo where Carr produced his greatest achievements. The 21-year-old had only just made it on to the US team after finishing fourth at the trials, but selectors were impressed with his semi-final performance there and so gave him a spot on the team.

Compatriot Paul Drayton was faster in each round of the 200m and equalled the Olympic record of 20.5 in the semi-final. But Carr was a comfortable winner of the final, breaking the Olympic record with 20.3 to finish two metres clear of Drayton.

Carr won another gold medal a few days later, anchoring the US team to gold in the 4x400m. His split of 44.5 helped them smash the world record by one-and-a-half seconds.

After his Olympic success, he spent a few years playing in the NFL and later had two children. He was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 1997.

IAAF