“Bullet” Bob Hayes held the title on World’s Fastest Human after winning two gold medals at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.
But as fast as Hayes was, he might be best known for exploits on the football field, where he played 10 of his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Hayes was an explosive wide receiver and kick returner, leading the NFL in touchdown catches his first two seasons in the league. Hayes eventually earned induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hayes is the only person ever to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl championship ring.
It was Hayes’ blazing speed that first earned him recognition on the athletic landscape. Hayes attended Florida A&M University on an athletic scholarship and there he was a standout on the track, winning three consecutive AAU national championships in the 100-yard dash and an NCAA championship in the 200-meter dash.
At the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, Hayes had the unfavorable assignment of Lane 1 for the 100-meter dash final but still managed to tie the world record with a winning time of 10.06 seconds even though he was wearing a left shoe borrowed at the last minute.
The 4×100-meter relay final was later that same day. One of the French runners had taunted American Paul Drayton: “You can’t win. All you have is Bob Hayes.” After Hayes ran an incredible anchor leg in the 4×100-meter relay, delivering the Americans another gold medal in a world record 39.06 seconds, Drayton had a simple retort: “That’s all we need, pal.”
That would be Hayes’ last race, as he retired from track competition and focused on football.
Hayes died in 2002 of kidney failure after battling prostate cancer and liver problems. He was 59.