Bob Hayes

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRobert Lee "Bob"•Hayes
Used nameBob•Hayes
Nick/petnamesBullet Bob
Born20 December 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida (USA)
Died18 September 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida (USA)
Measurements183 cm / 86 kg
AffiliationsFlorida A&M Rattlers, Tallahassee (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Bob Hayes is arguably the fastest sprinter of all time before the Usain Bolt era. During his four years at Florida A&M, Hayes lost only two of 62 finals at 100y or 100m. At 100m he had a best time of 10.06, which he clocked in the Olympic final on a cinder track after running a wind-assisted 9.91 in the semi-finals. Hayes was the first runner to run 100y in 9.1, and the first man to better six seconds for 60y indoors. Hayes won the AAU 100y for three straight years starting in 1962 and the NCAA 200m in 1964. From 1962-64 he won 49 consecutive races over 100 yards or 100 metres. His anchor leg in the 1964 Olympic relay, making up a four-meter deficit, was a fitting climax to a truly brilliant career. Estimates of his time range as low as 8.6 for the 100 meter leg, with an estimated 100y time of 7.7 seconds.

The relay was Hayes’ final track race and upon his return home, he signed a pro football contract with the Dallas Cowboys. As a wide receiver and punt returner he became one of the great players of the game and should be credited with revolutionizing pass defense. Man-to-man coverage was woefully inadequate in coping with his speed, and it ushered in the era of zone defense in pass coverage. Hayes played pro football for 11 years – 10 with Dallas and a final one with the San Francisco 49ers. He finished with 371 receptions, and a career average of 20.0 yards/catch, one of only 6 NFLers to average 20 or more yards per catch for a career. He led the NFL in 1965 and 1971 in yards/catch and in 1968 with average punt return yardage and his career average of 11.1 yds per punt return is 19th all-time in the NFL, through 2016. Through 2016, Hayes is the only athlete to possess both an Olympic gold medal and a NFL Super Bowl ring (1972). Unfortunately in later years he ran into trouble with the law and served an eleven month jail term for possession and trafficking in illegal drugs.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.06 (1964); 200 – 20.4y (1963).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Bob Hayes
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold

Special Notes