Biography:

Harry Jerome won 100m bronze at Tokyo 1964, Canada’s first Olympic medallist in the event since Percy Williams at Amsterdam 1928.

Jerome and his younger sister Valerie were both members of the Canadian Olympic Team at Rome 1960, following in the footsteps of their Olympian grandfather Army Howard, who had become Canada’s first Black Olympian at Stockholm 1912. Jerome had tied the 100m world record (10.0 seconds) in July 1960 but a pulled muscle kept him from advancing to the 100m final in his Olympic debut.

Jerome’s career nearly came to an end when he suffered a leg injury at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. But he fully recovered to win Olympic bronze two years later and just miss the podium in the 200m.

Jerome would stand atop international podiums at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1967 Pan American Games, where he won the 100 yards and 100 metres, respectively. He retired after his third Olympic appearance at Mexico City 1968.

In 1969, Jerome was invited by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to help create Canada’s new Ministry of Sport. He also used his profile to bring light to many socio-economic challenges facing Black Canadians, working to create opportunities outside of the sports world. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971.

Jerome suffered a brain aneurysm and died in 1982 when he was just 42. Two years later, an annual international track and field meet in Vancouver was re-named in his honour and in 1988 a statue was erected in Stanley Park. He was inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001.