In 1976 Hasely Joachim Crawford etched his name indelibly into the annals of Trinidad and Tobago track and field history when he won his country’s first Olympic Games gold medal.
The lanky sprinter won the 100m title from lane one in 10.06 seconds ahead of Jamaica’s Donald Quarrie, who was closing fast.
Born in San Fernando on August 16, 1950, Crawford was a relatively late bloomer as he started his track career at 17.
He would become National 100m champion on six occasions, as well as National 200m champion in 1976. His first taste of international competition was at 20 when he won bronze in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games.
Two years later he made the Munich Olympic Games 100m final but pulled up injured after 20m. But that disappointment turned to joy four years later when he realized his greatest achievement with victory in Montreal.
However, a year before he won silver at the Pan American Games, signaling his status as a serious contender for the Olympic Games title.
After finishing as the runner-up at the 1975 Pan American Games in the 100 meters, Crawford was added to the team of American coach Bob Parks. His new coach prepared him for the 100 meters and 200 meters events at the 1976 Summer Olympics with a strategy of only allowing him to run in a few races during the season. This tactic paid off, as Crawford, in the inside lane 1, narrowly won the 100 meters final in a time of 10.06 seconds, just 0.02 seconds in front of Don Quarrie of Jamaica, winning Trinidad and Tobago’s first Olympic gold medal
In 1976 he also qualified for the 200m final but like his first 100m final in Munich, he pulled up injured in the race.
He achieved further success in the 100m at the 1977 Central American and Caribbean Games. A National Stadium and a jet were named after him, and he appeared on postage stamps, and in 1978 he received his nation’s highest honor, the Trinity Cross.
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