A baseball player in his younger years, Jim Hines was spotted by a track coach as an talent and became a sprinter. At the 1968 national championships in Sacramento, Hines became the first man to break the ten second barrier, setting 9,9 (manual timing), with a real time of 10.03 - two other athletes, Charlie Greene and Ronnie Ray Smth having got the same time on the other semi-final. A few months later, at the Olympics themselves, Hines - a black athlete - found himself in a tense situation, with racial riots going on in his home country and a threat of a boycott of the black athlets in the US team. Hines did reach the 100 m final, and won it. There was some controversy over his exact time, but eventually his time of 9,95 was recognised as a new World Record (electronically timed and therefore considered quicker than his 9,9). Hines helped breaking another World Record when he and his teammates sprinted to the 4 x 100 m relay gold at the same Games.
After these successes, Hines signed up with the Miami Dolphins, an American football team, but never played.
Hines' World Record remained unbeaten for an exceptionally long time, until Calvin Smith ran 9,93 in 1983.