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Robert Lee Hayes

American athlete Robert Lee Hayes was born on December 20, 1942. At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, he won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida and excelling in both sprinting and football, Hayes first became successful as a sprinter. In 1963, he set the World Record in the 100 yard dash at 9.1, earning for himself the nickname of "fastest man alive".

At the 1964 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, Hayes had his finest hour as a sprinter. First, he won the 100 m by tying the current World Record in the 100 m. This was followed by a second gold medal in the 4 x 100 m relay, which also produced a new World Record. The relay race was also Hayes' last race as a track and field athlete as he permanently switched to football after it.

At the end of that same year, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys, playing as a wide receiver. His first two seasons were most successful, leading the league both times in receiving touchdowns. In 1971, Hayes' last good season with Dallas, he won the Super Bowl, becoming the only person so far to win both an Olympic gold medal and the Super Bowl.

Hayes played one season for the San Francisco 49ers, before retiring.

On September 18, 2002, Hayes died in his hometown Jacksonville of kidney failure aged 59, after battling prostate cancer and liver ailments.

Hayes was close to being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, but was denied the opportunity in the final round of decision making. The decision was marred by controversy, with many claiming that the Hall of Fame Senior Selection Committee had a bias against members of the Dallas Cowboys and other NFL teams. Shortly after the announcement of the new 2004 Hall of Fame members, long-time Sports Illustrated writer Paul Zimmerman resigned from the Selection Committee in protest of the decision to leave Hayes out of the Hall.



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